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Hospice or Palliative: Understanding the Difference

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173730166.jpgHospice Care

Hospice care is palliative by nature, meaning it provides comfort care. At the point of receiving hospice care, a patient's illness has progressed to where curative treatment is no longer desired or beneficial. Hospice care supports the patient and their families while focusing on relieving symptoms and offering comfort from pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea, anxiety, insomnia or constipation.

Non-Hospice Palliative Care

By definition, non-hospice palliative care focuses on relieving symptoms that are related to chronic illnesses, such as cancer, cardiac disease, respiratory disease, kidney failure, Alzheimer’s and other dementias, AIDS, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and other neurological diseases.

As you can see, there are differences between non-hospice palliative care and hospice care – and yet there is a relationship between the two. Non-hospice palliative care can be used at any stage of an illness, not just the advanced stages.

Treatment Differences

Treatments are not limited with non-hospice palliative care and can range from conservative to aggressive and curative.

Hospice care treatments are limited and focus on palliation, or relief, of symptoms. The goal is no longer to cure, but to promote comfort and quality of life.

Treatment Timing

Non-hospice palliative care can be considered at anytime during the course of a chronic illness. With hospice care, Medicare requires that a physician certify that a patient’s condition is terminal. The physician must certify that a patient’s life expectancy is six months or less.

Place of Treatment

Hospice care is delivered at any location. The hospice care team will visit a patient wherever they call home - in their own home, a caregiver's home, a nursing home, assisted living facility, or hospital. Patients needing intensive, round-the-clock care can also receive treatment at one of the Gulfside Centers for Hospice Care.

Currently, non-hospice palliative care is provided at our clinic locations, and at several hospitals and nursing homes with more locations coming in the future.

Differences in Types of Services

Non-hospice palliative care services are typically provided through regular physician and nursing visits. Hospice care services are more inclusive than non-hospice palliative care services. Hospice care includes physician services, nursing services, social worker, spiritual care, bereavement care and volunteers. The hospice team manages the patient's care plan for terminal symptoms and provides support for both the individual and their family.

Still have questions? We'd love to meet with you to help you decide which care plan works for you and your loved ones.

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