It is common for people to mix up the terms “hospice” and “palliative care,” making it difficult for individuals to find the services that are needed. Even though these terms are often used as synonyms, it there are differences in terms of patient eligibility and the benefits offered.
Here is a breakdown to help you determine the service that you need:
What is Hospice?
Hospice services are designed to care for a person that has a condition that limits the length of their life. These services are supportive of the patient, caregivers, and their families. The goal is to address not only the physical needs, but also the social, emotional, and spiritual needs of the individual. Medicare as well as most other health insurance plans provide a hospice benefit.
This service happens in the patient’s home or the facility where they live, allowing them to maximize time with their family and/or “age in place.”The focus of hospice care is to manage pain and minimize symptoms to improve comfort as much as possible for the duration of the person’s life. The theory is that quality of life is just as important as the length of life.
What is Palliative Care?
Palliative care is available for patients whose conditions are life-threatening, but they may also be chronic, or curable diseases. Patients can be at any stage of the disease. The goal is to relieve suffering and improve the overall quality of life for the patient. Examples of conditions that might be relieved by palliative care include Congestive Heart Failure (CHF), Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and different types of cancers.
The main reason that palliative care stands out from hospice is that this care is available for patients who are not necessarily terminally ill. Hospice is a type of palliative care focused on people with who have less than six months to live. Hospice always falls under the category of palliative care, but palliative care isn’t necessarily hospice care.
How Are Hospice and Palliative Care Doctors Different?
Patients often wonder why they need to talk to a different type of doctor. Aren’t all doctors focused on alleviating pain and discomfort to improve the quality of life? Yes, medical professionals are looking for ways to help you achieve the relief that you need. But, palliative doctors and hospice providers have the unique training to cope with the common burdens associated with serious illnesses, including the management of chronic pain.
Are you looking for help with hospice or palliative care? Talk to our team at Windward Life Care so that we can help you find resources that you need.