Differences Between Hospice and Palliative Care
Hospice and palliative care are similar when it comes to caring for those nearing the end of life. Palliative care and hospice care differ significantly is in the location, timing, payment, and eligibility for services.
Hospice programs concentrate on comfort rather than aggressive disease abatement. By electing to forego extensive life-prolonging treatment, hospice patients focus on enjoying the most with the time they have left. Hospice patients can achieve comfort allowing them to concentrate on the emotional and practical issues of dying.
Once enrolled in hospice care through a referral from your primary care physician, a patient’s hospice care program is overseen by a team of hospice professionals and administered in the home. Hospice often relies heavily upon a family caregiver, as well as a visiting hospice nurse to ensure full-time care. Although hospice can provide round-the-clock care in a nursing home, a specially equipped hospice facility, or a hospital, it is typically administered at home. While there are exceptions, you must be considered terminal or within six months of the end of life to be eligible for most hospice programs. Medicare covers many hospice programs, but it is important to check on insurance policy limits for payment when considering your options.
A patient can receive palliative care anytime and at any stage of illness whether it be terminal or not. Palliative care can fill the gap for patients who want and need comfort at any time of any disease.
Care teams consist of doctors, nurses, and medical caregivers, often at the facility where a patient receives treatment. They will oversee most of the ongoing comfort care patients receive. While there is home delivered palliative care, it is common to receive care in a hospital, extended care, or nursing home with a palliative care team. If administered through your hospital or regular medical provider, services should be covered by your regular health insurance.