Some people use the terms hospice care and palliative care interchangeably, but that can get rather confusing for patients and their loved ones. Simply put, hospice care focuses on one’s last few months of life. If they typically have less than six months to live and a cure is not available, a hospice team with make sure that the rest of the patient’s’ life is lived comfortably. They will also aid with physical symptoms and other areas of distress – whether it is emotional or spiritual – during this time.
While palliative care also provides assistance, it is not merely for end-of-life situations. In this case, the goal is to make those with a serious illness feel better while treating emotional, social, practical, and spiritual hardships which, in turn, improves their quality of life. If patients are already receiving care to suppress an illness, palliative care acts as additional support before, during and after treatments.
Both hospice and palliative care may be offered by hospitals, home care agencies, cancer centers, and long-term care facilities. They are meant to provide comfort for patients, their families and friends – so they can rest assured knowing they are in good hands. A great team should offer physical and emotional support for patients and their families going through the toughest moments of their lives. They should focus on caring, not curing.
Teams of healthcare professional for these purposes typically include nurses, registered dietitians, social workers, and chaplains. If patients and their families face distress during an illness, the team can help steer clear of any fear, anxiety, depression or feelings of hopelessness. Of course, levels of care can and should be adjusted based on each patient and their individual needs.
You can determine the type of care based on whether or not a cure is an option. Upon finding out the results of an illness, you may voice your concerns to your health care provider who will better assist in finding the right options for you. At Pleasantville Hospice, we do everything possible to provide personal care for every patient 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.