Difference Between Palliative Care and Hospice

Serious illnesses come in many different varieties. No matter what your diagnosis is, you will need to obtain care in order to ease some of the symptoms. Depending on the severity of your illness, more specifically whether it is terminal or curable, will determine the level of care you will need to receive. Sometimes, illnesses are a permanent part of our lives that do not necessarily require the same amount of treatment as a patient with another disease. For example, a patient that is diagnosed with diabetes will not need the same amount of care and supervision that a person with stage 4 cancer would require. While diabetes can be a life threatening ordeal, with proper management a diabetic person can live a full and manageable life. For those with a definite terminal illness, which type of care do you choose?

Palliative Care Vs. Hospice

There are two major types of treatments for people with serious ailments. Palliative care is made up of a team of doctors, nurses, and other caregivers that usually takes place in the home of the patient. While many patients are treated in the comfort of their own homes, some are required to go to the medical facility where they were first diagnosed. Hospice care generally takes place in the home of the patient but on some occasions there are specific live-in hospice locations. Hospice care is practiced by a family caregiver as well as a hospice nurse to ensure that the patient has round the clock supervision.

Who can Receive Treatment?

Palliative care can be practiced during any stage of the disease whether it be upon first diagnosis or the final stages of the disease. Palliative care may also be received regardless of if the illness is terminal or not. Hospice care requires that the patient have a terminal illness or be in the final six months of life. While some hospice services may accept a patient under different terms, most insurance providers will only pay for hospice under the given guidelines.

What Treatments are Provided?

Since palliative treatments do not require a patient to have a terminal illness the patient can receive treatment at any time during their illness. This type of care is generally used when a patient needs or wants comfort and support while going through this phase of their life. Since hospice care is typically for terminally ill patients, hospice does not focus on the aggressiveness of the illness or slowing the effects. Rather, hospice focuses on providing comfort and giving the patient the most of what they have left. Both types of care tend to focus on the emotional support needed to cope with such illnesses.

Regardless of what type of illness a person may have, the fact remains that there will always be care. Whether it be a terminally ill patient that wants to spend the rest of the time they have with family or someone that has just been diagnosed with a disease, treatments are available for them. Sometimes all a person needs is a little reassurance to let them know they are stronger than whatever it is they are fighting.


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