When someone is living with a serious illness, finding appropriate care is vital to assuring their comfort and supporting those around them. Palliative care and hospice are two common types of services that can provide people with the care they need during their most difficult times. If you’re unsure which is best for your loved one’s situation, we will look at the differences between palliative care vs. hospice so that you can make an informed decision.
What is Palliative Care?
Palliative care focuses on easing pain and reducing stress while allowing people the best quality of life possible.1 It can be used for anyone with a serious illness who may also receive curative and therapeutic care for an illness or after surgery.
A specially trained team of doctors, nurses, and other specialists provide palliative care. They will discuss the best care plan with your primary care doctor. Patients can receive palliative care as long as it is needed. It can be done at home, a hospital, a nursing home, or an outpatient clinic.
Palliative Care Services
Services that fall under the palliative care umbrella can include:
- Pain management
- Care coordination
- Develop a care plan
- Options for care and housing
- Advance directives
- Spiritual care
Palliative care can also help people who are dealing with depression due to their illness. Anything that reduces stress during a health issue can be considered palliative care.
What is Hospice Care?
Hospice care focuses on providing care and comfort for a patient with a serious illness approaching their final days. Hospice focuses on the quality of life during this difficult time. It is generally provided for a person with a terminal illness who may have six months or less to live as their condition deteriorates without medical intervention. 2
Hospice is designed for people who may have a condition that is too serious to cure or for those who refuse to undergo specific treatments. This can happen in the case of cancer patients who no longer want to undergo chemotherapy. Patients with cardiac disease, dementia, Parkinson’s, kidney disease, and other ailments may choose hospice care rather than continued medical interventions.
Although there are hospice care facilities, it’s important to note that hospice is not a place where people go to receive care. Instead, it is a care service that can be provided at home or wherever a person lives, including nursing facilities and long-term care facilities.
Hospice Care Services
Hospice care includes any pain and symptom management and medical supplies. It can also involve:
- Emotional and grief support
- Caregiver aid
- 24/7 call service for Medicare-qualified hospices
While you won’t receive medicine or treatment for your specific illness, you will receive medicine to enhance your quality of life.1 This can include medication for high blood pressure, pain, or anxiety.
Hospice staff are available 24 hours a day to provide support and answer questions as they come up. Hospice services allow people to be surrounded by loved ones and spend as much time as possible in a place they find most comforting.
At Aleca, people who receive hospice care can also have access to a social worker who can offer counseling. Chaplains are also available to provide spiritual guidance. Family members caring for their loved ones at home can receive help from volunteers when they need to rest. Hospice care also provides bereavement support for up to 13 months after a loved one passes away.
Palliative Care vs. Hospice: Differences and Similarities
Both palliative care and hospice provide care for the patient and support for the family. The significant difference between the two is that with palliative care, a person does not need to stop other treatments for their illness.2 With hospice, attempts to cure a person’s illness are stopped.
With palliative care, your doctor and other doctors and nurses specializing in palliative care may provide services. You may also get assistance from therapists, social workers, and other specialists.
When hospice care is given at home, a family member is usually the primary caregiver. Care experts are on call 24 hours a day to provide assistance. Doctors, nurses, and others specializing in hospice care are on hand in hospice centers and other facilities.
Who Pays for Palliative and Hospice Care?
Most health insurance covers palliative care, but the coverage can vary. Private health insurance also covers hospice care but is also covered by Medicare and Medicaid. Aleca is an approved Medicare provider. If you have Medicare Part A and meet the Medicare conditions, there is no cost for hospice care.
Palliative and Hospice Care at Aleca Healthcare
Aleca provides both palliative and hospice services. Aleca Hospice Care offers patient-centered care to ensure patients receive end-of-life care that follows the patient’s and family’s wishes. This care is provided wherever the patient calls home. Under Aleca Hospice Care, the primary care physician will supervise the care plan and receive help from the team of Aleca specialists.
The Aleca Healthcare staff also provides palliative care for patients looking to receive that type of specialized care when they are ill.
To learn more about hospice and palliative care at Aleca Healthcare, call us today or reach out to us online.
Dan is Vice President, Marketing of the Alumus family of companies. A Seattle native, he earned his BA in Humanities and Political Science at Evergreen State College. He started his career as a newspaper columnist, eventually transitioning into marketing and tech writing for Microsoft and several other startups. He later launched a successful creative agency focused on branding, digital marketing, and content production in Los Angeles, where he worked for several nursing and behavioral health clients, eventually becoming the National Marketing Director for one of them.
He has taught Vipassana mindfulness meditation and MBSR and spends whatever free time he has with his son snowboarding, hiking, and camping in the mountains.