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Difference Between Palliative Care and Hospice

Palliative Care vs Hospice

Both palliative and hospice care are important for people with serious illnesses. They are closely associated but they are different. Palliative care treats pain and life-threatening diseases which come as a result of illnesses. The treatment improves the quality of life for traumatized people. Its main focus is on relieving symptoms which are associated with the condition such as; nausea, pain, and constipation. This care can continue to include spiritual, psychological, and emotional help. It provides comfort and does not preclude aggressive treatment of an illness. It may sometimes fail to address the love or emotional support needed. Palliative care is received from nurses, doctors, or social workers in a hospital, assisted living facility, or the patients’ home. It may also include weekly home visits from a nurse and a visit to the doctor.

Hospice care is the care given to patients who are suffering from terminal illnesses which cannot be treated until they die. It is based on the fact that everyone has a right to die pain free and with respect from others. People given hospice care have physical conditions which cannot be improved. It keeps the pain down but cannot cure the disease. Just like palliative care, it is received from nurses, doctors, or social workers. It addresses the patient’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. The patient is always in a hospital. It does not aim to prolong the patient’s life but, rather, takes care of the patient’s needs till they die.

Patients receiving palliative care do not have to be terminal, and doctors may still be looking for treatment. Unlike hospice care, palliative care patients still receive the treatment of the conditions they suffer from. Hospice care patients usually have a life expectancy of less than six months while those who receive palliative care may have many years to live.

1.Both forms of care focus on pain and symptom management.
2.Patients receiving hospice care are terminally ill while those who receive palliative care do not have to be terminally ill.
3.Hospice care is given to patients with less than six months to live, and palliative care can be given to anyone.
4.Hospice care does not continue seeking curative treatment while palliative care seeks it.
5.All hospice care patients are palliative patients, but not all palliative patients are hospice patients.
6.Hospice care concentrates on comfort while palliative care concentrates on both comfort and treatment of the disease.
7.Palliative care can be received at any stage of an illness, but hospice care is received when the illness is terminal and the patient has less than six months to live.

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1 Comment

  1. I really appreciate your site, however this article contains incorrect information regarding Hospice. These misconceptions are part of the reason people fail to take advantage of Hospice care until very late in their illness.

    Hospice care patients DO NOT always have to be treated in a hospital. Eighty percent of Hospice care is provided in the patient’s home, family member’s home and in nursing homes. In addition to hospitals, dedicated Inpatient hospice facilities (“Hospice Houses”) may also be available locally that are available to assist with caregiving.

    It’s true that Hospice care is a covered benefit under Medicare (and in most states, Medicaid) for patients with a prognosis of 6 months or less. However, a patient can remain in hospice care beyond six months as long as the physician continues to re-certify that the patient is terminally ill. In other words, the only real requirement for entering Hospice is having a terminal illness (one that will ultimately result in the patient’s death). Patients that enter Hospice are reassessed every 6 months. If their condition has improved, they may actually stop Hospice care temporarily and start it again at a later time when their condition deteriorates. Patients may be in Hospice care for much longer than 6 months (sometimes for years). They may also choose to increase the amount of care they receive as they their illness progresses. It’s a Godsend for families of terminally patients.

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