What’s the difference between palliative care and hospice care?

What’s the difference between palliative care and hospice care?

Always wondered about this? From the pages of AAMC Magazine, the differences in the two types of care are explained here.

compassionPalliative and hospice programs are both designed to improve the quality of life for people with serious illness. Dignity and comfort are at the center of both hospice and palliative care programs. The goal of both is to relieve suffering and to support patients and their families.

Palliative care is a way of caring for people who have a serious illness. The goal is to help people be as comfortable as possible by managing symptoms such as pain or trouble breathing. It can also help people deal with the side effects of treatments.

A doctor can recommend palliative care anytime during a person’s illness-he or she doesn’t need to be at the end of life to receive this type of care.

Hospice is a special way of caring for people who have a terminal illness. It focuses on care, not cure, helping patients spend their remaining days as comfortable and pain-free as possible. Hospice is typically for people whose life expectancy-certified by a doctor-is six months or less.

Most insurance plans cover both palliative care and hospice care.

Sources: American Geriatrics Society; National Institute of Nursing Research

Lou Lukas, MO, is medical director of Chesapeake Palliative Medicine. For a consultation, call 877-920-5472.

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