3 Differences Between Hospice And Palliative Care Services

Hospice care is a service used at the end of a person's life, and it is primarily used when a person is terminally ill. There is another service that is similar to this but is used for a slightly different purpose, and it is called palliative care. While these services are similar, here are three differences you should be aware of if you are trying to help a close loved one improve the quality of his or her life while struggling with a major health problem.

Main Purpose

The first difference to understand with hospice and palliative care is the goal, or purpose, of each.

  • The purpose of hospice is to provide comfort and pain relief during the last moments of a person's life. Hospice services take place at a person's house, and they often consist of providing pain medication to completely mask the pain the person is feeling.
  • Palliative care is to make a person's life more enjoyable while the person fights a serious disease or health problem. It takes place in hospitals or other types of institutions, and it offers a combination of various types of services.

Hospice is used when a person's condition cannot be cured, whereas palliative care can be used by people that could end up overcoming their health problem.

Time Lengths

To understand this better, you will need to compare the time lengths of each of these services. Hospice services are generally provided for people when they are expected to live for only six months longer, or less. In many cases, hospice care workers do not even come to a person's house until the person has around one week left to live.

When a person is struggling with a major health problem but has a chance of surviving, palliative care services are the better option. A person like this will not have a set amount of time left to live, and the person actually could end up living for many more years.

Services Provided

As you compare these options, you should realize that hospice is provided mainly for pain-relief and comfort during a person's last days. Palliative care is very different though. While it is used to find pain-relief treatment options that work, it is also used for:

  • Emotional support – through these services, a team of health professionals works with the person to provide emotional support. This can involve having therapists to talk to, physical therapists to work with, and ministers for assistance with spiritual matters.
  • Improvement of quality of life – through the variety of services available with palliative care, a sick person may be able to find ways to enjoy his or her life more.
  • Educational information – this team is also there to look into treatment options and to explain these options to the person. They will help the person make decisions and will be there each step of the way.

Hospice and palliative care are both wonderful services that are available in most areas. Most health insurance plans cover the costs for these services, and you should carefully compare these options as you look for help for a close loved one. Contact a place like Cornerstone Hospice and Palliative Care/ Akers Media for more information.