As a Hospice and Palliative care agency we would like to explain the difference between both to all of our families.
Palliative care is a resource available for anyone with a serious or life-limiting illness. The main goals of palliative care are to relieve the pain and suffering and discomfort associated with an illness and to reduce patient and family members’ stress. Palliative care programs are made up of a multidisciplinary team of doctors, nurses, therapists, counselors, and social workers. The team works in collaboration with a patient’s entire care team of physicians and nurses, and with the patient and their family to provide medical, emotional, and social support needed to cope with the burdens of a serious illness. Palliative care provides treatments for symptoms even if the underlying disease cannot be cured. Palliative care can be provided in a number of care settings including a patient’s home, outpatient palliative care clinics, in nursing homes, hospitals, or other specialized clinics.
Hospice care is a specialized type of palliative care for patients suffering from an incurable illness or multiple illnesses with a life expectancy of six months or less. It is available to any patient with a serious illness. The main focus of hospice is improving quality of life, maintaining dignity, and making patients as comfortable as possible during the time they have remaining. The hospice care team is a multidisciplinary team made up of doctors, nurses, social workers, trained volunteers, and spiritual advisors. Hospice care can be provided in the home or in a facility such as a hospital, nursing home, or a dedicated hospice care facility. Patients can elect to leave hospice care at any time is he or she decides that they want to resume curative treatments. Patients may also leave hospice care if their condition improves.