Palliative Care and Hospice – what’s the difference?
There are some misconceptions surrounding these terms and they are often used interchangeably. While there are similarities between palliative and hospice care, there are also significant differences.
All Hospice care is considered palliative, meaning a “team” approach is used to provide comfort care and support to the patient and family. It is care for those with a life-limiting illness who are not seeking curative treatments. Hospice care can be provided in a few different settings, including at home. Depending on the family’s needs and wishes, the team may consist of:
- Hospice medical director as well as a primary physician and/or nurse practitioner.
- RN patient care coordinator and visiting nurses
- Hospice aides
- Social worker
- Chaplain/spiritual care
- Other professionals such as music or message therapist; dietician
Palliative care is for those suffering from serious or chronic illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, Parkinson’s etc. It can be started at any stage of the illness and includes many of the same practitioners as hospice.
One of the benefits of choosing palliative care is the management of pain, medication side effects and other symptoms which may cause discomfort. Members of the team can support the family when it comes to managing stress, spiritual needs, coping with grief and other concerns associated with serious illnesses. A consultation with the care team will provide answers and guidance specific to each unique situation.
For further information or insights visit mayoclinic.org.