It’s easy to confuse palliative care and hospice care because they both aim to provide pain and symptom relief. However, they are different services. Palliative care is comfort care with or without curative treatment, while hospice care is comfort care without curative treatment.
Let’s learn more about palliative and hospice services and the similarities and differences to be aware of.
Understanding the Types of Care
Before we compare palliative care and hospice care, let’s brush up on what the two types of care mean.
- Palliative care. This specialized medical care is for people living with a serious life-limiting illness like cancer or heart failure. Patients in palliative care can receive medical care for their symptoms, and they can access this care at any stage of their illness.
- Hospice care. Like palliative care, hospice care is comfort care, but patients do not receive curative treatments. They’ve either chosen not to pursue these treatments, or the treatments were no longer working.
Similarities between Palliative and Hospice Care
Palliative and hospice care have the objective of providing pain and symptom relief, but that’s not all they have in common. Here are some of the similarities that you’ll find with both types of care.
- Reduces discomfort and pain.. Any serious illness may present pain and discomfort for the patient. Not only can this be hard on them, but it can also be hard on the family. Palliative and hospice care offer medications and treatments to ease these symptoms.
- Offers more than medical care. Aside from medical care, palliative and hospice treatment services provide access to chaplains, social workers, and other experts.
- Includes the family. Palliative and hospice care services both include the family. They provide support services, such as grief counseling, to strengthen the family unit and prepare them for the future.
Differences between Palliative and Hospice Care
Now that we’ve covered the similarities between palliative care and hospice care, let’s explore the differences. After all, these are two different types of care and you may have to choose between them.
- Curative treatments. A person receiving palliative care may also receive curative treatments such as chemotherapy or surgery. Hospice care is for people who are no longer responding to treatment or have chosen to stop all curative treatments.
- Period of care. Palliative care is offered on an as-needed basis, which means some patients only receive it intermittently. Hospice care is ongoing care until the person is deceased.
- Payment options. Hospice is a covered benefit paid by Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance. Palliative services are paid for by the person or through private insurance.
- Settings. Even though both services can be provided anywhere, palliative care is usually offered in a hospital setting. Hospice care is offered wherever the patient considers home.
If you still have questions about palliative care or hospice care, contact VNA Health Group today. We offer both types of services to patients and their families to help them make the most of their time together.