Both hospice and palliative care are similar are many ways. Both of them involve taking care of their patient’s medicine, equipment, day-to-day care, treatment in case any symptoms show up, and bereavement counselling. However, they have some major differences as well. The areas where palliative care is different from hospice care are;
Although hospice care is mainly provided in the patient’s home, but you can also ask for it while the patient is staying in nursing home, hospital, or some hospice facility. It focuses more on the increasing the quality of life during the last days of their terminal illness and making sure that the do not face any discomfort during that time spent. Family caregivers also have to do their part along with the hospice professional in order to make that happen. The hospice care is also not for 24/7. The professionals and the nurses do regular visits with the confidence that they will be always available on the phone in case some emergency happens.
The palliative care on the other hand is provided in a facility, probably the one where the patient will be receiving their first treatment. The teams of palliative care consist of nurses, professional caregivers, and the doctors.
The hospice care is given when the patient is suffering from terminal illness and is in the last stages. It is also provided in cases where the patient has refused further treatment. The patients receiving hospice care are generally only 4 to 6 months away from their death.
On the other hand, the palliative care does not have any time restrictions. The patients or their family members can request for the palliative care during any time and stage of the illness, does not matter if it’s terminal or not.
Hospice care focuses more on comfort rather than treatment. As mentioned above that the patient receiving hospice care is mainly in the last stages of their illness and are left with only 4 to 6 months to live. In some cases, patients have also refused further treatment to relieve themselves of the negative side effects of these life prolonging treatments might have. Their wish is to live the whatever time they have left with comfort and with their closed ones. That is what hospice care is all about.
In the absence of any time restrictions, palliative care is provided for patients who just want to be comfortable no matter which stage of their illness they are. There is also no condition of whether these patients will be taking the life prolonging treatments or not.
However, exceptions can be made in both cases.
All the payments involved in hospice are covered by the patient’s private insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare. But it is always preferred to check these policies and their terms and conditions.
Palliative care, because they are provided by the hospital, is taken care by your regular medical insurance.