Hospice vs. Palliative Care / End-of-Life Care
Hospice care and palliative care are often referred to as end-of-life care. Rather than treating patients with invasive procedures and surgeries, hospice and palliative care focuses instead on keeping patients as comfortable as possible as they approach their final days, allowing them to pass as peacefully as possible, in comfort and with dignity. In addition to caring for the patient, hospice providers also offer support to friends and family of the terminally ill patient to help them through their loss.
Designed to provide comfort and support for terminally ill patients, hospice care also provides emotional and spiritual support to the patient’s loved ones. While hospice services can provided in a hospice facility, they can also be provided in a patient’s home. Patients receive pain management, emotional and spiritual support, such as help with anxiety and depression, and care for their physical needs. Hospice care also provides support for the patient’s family, such as counseling, respite care, and often, ongoing bereavement support once their loved one has passed.
While these terms are often used interchangeably, Hospice and Palliative care are slightly different. Both Hospice and Palliative care focus on keeping patients calm and comfortable and minimizing or eliminating (when possible) the pain associated with a terminal illness. Both types of care offer ongoing emotional and spiritual support to both patients and their families. And both can be provided at home, at a hospice facility, or in the hospital.
The difference is that hospice care is provided when there is no longer any hope of extending the life of the patient and all life-extending care has been discontinued. Palliative care is provided when there may or may not be hope of extending the life of the patient. While receiving palliative care, patients may also still be receiving additional treatment meant to extend life. Patients receiving palliative care will receive medication and treatment to help with pain and other symptoms related to their terminal illness.
Many people choose to receive Hospice or Palliative care in their homes at the end of their lives. For those with a terminal illness, having access to compassionate End-of-life care allows patients to die, often at home, in comfort and surrounded by their loved ones, rather than a sterile hospital environment.
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