Understanding the Difference Between Hospice & Palliative Care
Hospice and palliative care are similar but there are key differences in the purpose of each of these care practices.
The goal of palliative care is to provide people with relief from the symptoms and side effects that accompany a chronic or life-threatening illness. Palliative care is for both terminal and non-terminal patients who seek to improve their overall quality of life; it does not attempt to postpone or hasten death. Palliative care also treats the emotional distress that life-threatening illnesses can create.
When can palliative care be utilized?
Palliative care is available after an illness has been diagnosed, while going through the treatment and at the end of life. It works with the treatments that are meant to cure or treat the disease. While receiving palliative care, your loved one can continue to receive care and treatment from his or her regular physician.
What does palliative care include?
A serious illness affects more than just the physical body—it can touch all areas of a person’s life, including their friends and family members. Palliative care can address the physical effects a serious illness has on a person as well as the emotional and spiritual ones.
Palliative care can be beneficial to patients who:
- Experience chronic, progressive pulmonary disorders
- Are undergoing pulmonary care
- Have kidney (renal) disease
- Have had heart failure
- Have progressive neurological conditions
- Have cancer
- Have recurrent infections
- Have non-healing wounds
- Are receiving wound care
- Have a history of recurrent hospitalizations
- Have psychosocial or emotional distress
- Need coordination of care
Hospice provides care for terminally ill patients who may only have months or weeks to live. Your loved one may wish to end treatment options that might prolong his or her life and instead focus on living as comfortably as possible—shifting the focus from extending life to spending quality time with loved ones.
Your loved one is not giving up on life by receiving hospice care, they are choosing to prioritize their wishes, while still receiving the highest quality care possible. Whether it’s physically, emotionally or spiritually, hospice care can improve the quality of your loved one’s life.
Friends and families need support too
Hospice care does not stop with the patient. Our care team is here to support friends and family as well, and helping them make the most of their loved one’s time and their time together.
What do Hospice and Palliative Care have in common?
- Both focus on the patient’s quality of life. With either program your loved one can expect care that is designed to alleviate pain and increase comfort.
- Family-centered support. Not only do families receive education and comfort, they are encouraged to participate and give input on their loved one’s care.
- Emphasis on the patient. Palliative care and hospice address the patient as a whole, including special attention to the patient’s emotional wellbeing.