When you or someone you love is facing a severe illness, you’re going to be making a variety of important choices regarding your path of care. One of the most crucial choices can be how your pain is managed and comfort will be provided. When these conversations occur the terms “hospice” and “palliative care” are often in use. But, it can be challenging to understand the difference. These terms aren’t truly synonyms. And, you should have a clear idea of what each service offers in terms of goals or care, prognosis, and other noteworthy details.
What is Hospice Care?
Just like all squares are rectangles, but not every rectangle is a square; all hospice care is palliative care, but not all palliative care is hospice care.
One of the main distinctions of hospice care is that there is no curative intent from the health care providers. When a person goes into hospice care one of the primary goals is comfort. But, typically the patient doesn’t have any curative options available to them (or have opted not to undergo treatment). So rather than pursuing treatments that attempt to cure an illness, the goal is to get the most out of the time the patient has left and help them feel as good as possible.
Hospice care is most often a care path when a person is believed to have six months or less to live. Additionally, hospice care traditionally occurs in the patient’s home when possible. But, it can also occur in other locations such as retirement centers or hospitals as well.
When hospice care occurs in the dwelling of the patient, the care is often provided by a family member who has access to professional care staff 24/7. When hospice care occurs in hospitals or dedicated hospice centers, nurses, doctors, and other qualified providers provide care.
Insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid typically cover hospice. Although, people can receive hospice care no matter their financial situation or ability to pay for it.
What is Palliative Care?
Palliative care has full curative intent, which is where it differs most from hospice care. Using things like nutrition, pain relief, and counseling, the goal is to make you feel as good as possible emotionally and physically (and even spiritually) while you are being treated for your illness.
Palliative care can happen at any point during your illness. And, you do not need to be facing the possibility of death for it to be available. It can take place in your home, at a hospital, a doctor’s office, or in other facilities. Doctors and nurses most commonly provide this care. But, other specialists such as therapists or social workers can provide it as well. Health insurance covers palliative care, but the coverage amount and specifics may vary (often more than hospice).
Get the Care You Need
Whether you need palliative or hospice care, Sequoia is the perfect choice for you. Our specialty is bringing the quality of hospital-type healthcare into the comfort of your own home. Let’s talk today.