Palliative care and Hospice are very similar.

Both of these care choices are focused on minimizing pain and maximizing “comfort”. More people have heard of hospice care and have a general idea of what it provides. Palliative Care and Hospice are designed to administer “comfort” for people that are reaching their final stages in life. Hospital staffs often have Palliative Care personnel trained in communicating this sensitive topic to patients and their family. Palliative and Hospice care are seen as an addition or a supplement to “traditional” care options. Palliative care typically combines medications, day-to-day care, equipment, bereavement counseling, and symptom treatments and are administered through a single program.

Palliative care teams are made up of doctors, nurses, and other professional medical caregivers, often at the hospital where the patient receives treatment. These professionals oversee the comfort-care patients receive. While occasionally palliative care can be administered in the home, it is more common to receive palliative care in an institution (Hospital, Skilled Nursing Facility or a Nursing Home.).

Hospice often relies upon the family caregiver, as well as a visiting hospice nurse. While hospice can provide care in a nursing home, a hospice facility, or, even a hospital, this is not the norm. Typically you are enrolled in hospice by your primary physician after it has been determined that the patient is terminal or has only six months to live. Palliative
care does not have this time restriction. Medicare will often cover all Hospice costs, but this should be verified by your Insurance professional.

Most hospice programs focus on comfort rather than recovery. By electing to concentrate on getting the most out of the time they have left, many hospice patients want to be at home and make quality connections with their loved ones. Most hospice patients can achieve a level of comfort that allows them and their family members to concentrate on the emotional and
practical issues of dying.

While these are general definitions of palliative care and hospice care, there are many other intricacies that can be described to you by your doctor. Don’t be afraid to talk about this.