Palliative Care VS Hospice Care
Hospice and palliative care are two different but frequently conflated types of care. Both provide pain and symptom relief for people with serious illnesses, but there are significant differences. Understanding the distinction between hospice and palliative care will help you choose the appropriate treatment for your circumstance.

As a beginning point for comparing palliative care and hospice, it is helpful to understand their respective definitions.

Hospice Definition
Those in the latter stages of a significant illness who have months rather than years to live are considered to receive hospice care. People frequently choose hospice care when treatment is no longer effective or they no longer want to pursue remedies to cure a terminal illness. Hospice is for those who wish to make the most of their remaining time while being surrounded by the things that are most important to them.

The following are some critical aspects of the hospice definition:
  • Hospice care places a strong emphasis on comfort and quality of life.
  • Palliative care is a part of hospice, along with extra services.
  • Regular visits from nurses, nurses' assistants, social workers, chaplains, and trained volunteers may be part of hospice treatment.
  • For patients who qualify, hospice payments are covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance policies.
  • No matter where the patient resides, hospice care is available. This covers private residences and buildings like nursing homes, hospitals, and hospice services.
  • While their loved one receives hospice care, family caregivers receive a lot of assistance. This could involve bereavement support, education, and respite care.

Palliative Care Definition

Palliative care is medical attention that relieves severe sickness symptoms and adverse effects from medication. Before requiring hospice care, palliative care is an option. When a severe illness is initially diagnosed in a patient, palliative care may be provided. Additionally, they can get treatment as they transition to end-of-life care or search for a cure. Palliative care can help patients feel better so they can get better and keep working and going about their everyday lives.

The definition of palliative care includes the following key details:

  • Palliative care's primary objectives are to make patients feel better and to enhance their quality of life.
  • Nurse practitioners are specializing in palliative care counsel patients and families to help them manage chronic illnesses such as cancer, dementia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and kidney, heart, and lung conditions.
  • A few services frequently provided in palliative care include pain and symptom treatment, discussion of care goals, advanced care planning, family meetings, education, and support.
  • As a patient's illness develops near the end of life, they can switch from palliative care to hospice care.
  • Doctors, nurses, nutritionists, social workers, and chaplains are some specialists who could be a part of the palliative care team.

Similarities Between Palliative Care vs. Hospice
Although it is crucial to understand the differences between hospice and palliative care, let's start with the commonalities. Both provide:

  • Compassionate treatment for people with life-threatening illnesses
  • Relief from pain and symptoms
  • Greater freedom and control
  • Fewer unnecessary hospital visits
  • as the main objectives, comfort, and quality of life
  • Support on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level
  • Treatment groups made up of experts with a range of specialized skills
  • Support groups and counseling services for family caregivers

What Makes Hospice and Palliative Care Different
The main differences between palliative care and hospice care are as follows:

Start Time
  • Hospice care starts when a person is very sick and isn't expected to live for more than six months.
  • Palliative care can begin at any point in a disease. This includes when the person gets a diagnosis, is getting treatment to get better, or is getting close to the end of their life.
Care Objectives
  • When a person chooses hospice care, the goals of care change from curing illness to making the person feel better and improving their quality of life.
  • Patients can get palliative care while also trying to improve. Their goal is to feel as comfortable as possible while they heal.
  • For people who qualify, Medicare, Medicaid, the Veterans Administration, and most private insurance plans cover all of the costs of hospice care. Benefits pay for hospice care, medications, medical supplies, and equipment related to the terminal illness. The patient's regular Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance will pay for drugs and services unrelated to the terminal illness.
  • Most of the time, insurance or the patient's money pays for palliative care. Depending on the patient's plan, Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance may pay for some of the costs.
  • Hospice care is given to the patient wherever they live. This includes private homes and places like hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living centers, and hospice centers.
  • Palliative care can also be given in private homes, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and hospitals, among other places.
  • To get hospice care through Medicare, a patient must meet specific requirements (prognosis of six months or less as determined by a doctor).
  • Since Medicare only pays for some palliative care, patients do not have to meet any specific requirements to be eligible.
Length of Care
  • Patients can get hospice care for at least six months or longer if their doctor says - they still meet the criteria.
  • Palliative care is available from when a patient is diagnosed with a severe illness until the illness is cured or the patient moves on to end-of-life care.
Even though hospice and palliative care are different in many ways, they can help patients and their families through a hard times. If you have a severe illness, talk to your doctor about whether palliative care or hospice would be better for you. Call us to find out more.