If you or a loved one has become affected by a chronic or fatal illness, then you may hear your doctors using a variety of terms that include palliative and hospice care. However, while many people believe that these terms are interchangeable and used to describe end-of-life care, this is simply not true. If you want to know about the differences between palliative and hospice care, keep reading.
Palliative care is a term that is used to describe some of the care that is provided to a seriously ill patient. It is the care that allows the patient to retain the best quality of life, even though they may die from their disease at some point. And while the care often focuses on the ways that a patient can retain comfort, the treatments are provided in the hopes that a cure can be found for the illness or that a treatment can be located to help resolve the sickness to a manageable level.
Palliative care involves the use of medication to reduce pain as well as nausea symptoms. Medicines are also offered to assist with appetite issues as well as any other symptoms that are causing some sort of discomfort.
Palliative care may involve treatments for mobility or it may include massage therapy, occupational therapy, or any other type of therapy that allows the patient to remain comfortable.
In addition to medical treatments, the care often involves therapy and mental support. Individuals with chronic illnesses often experience depression and other emotional issues, and therapy can help to reduce these concerns.
Hospice care is provided when a physician and patient agree that curative treatments should be stopped. This occurs when an illness has reached the stage where it can no longer be treated. For example, individuals who are experiencing end-stage heart failure or progressive types of stage IV cancer may seek out hospice care. Usually, treatments have failed or individuals have exhausted all of their treatment options at this point.
Hospice care is end-of-life care and it allows the patient to remain comfortable until they pass away. Sometimes families will choose hospice care for several months before a death while others will only choose hospice care for the last few weeks or days of their life.
Hospice care focuses on comfort, so pain relief and counseling are a big part of the focus of care. Also, spiritual advisors may be brought in to help individuals accept their final moments as peacefully as possible.
There are a wide variety of different strategies used to develop a hospice care plan, and each plan is specifically geared towards the needs of the patient.