What is the Difference Between Palliative Care and Hospice?

People with terminal illnesses in Florida may have the option of palliative or hospice care. The similarities between palliative and hospice care frequently outnumber the differences, with hospice care referring more specifically to care options that eschew aggressive treatments and medical interventions. Palliative care refers to the amelioration of pain and suffering. While many patients in hospice care will receive some treatments or medications to reduce pain and suffering, there is no expectation of recovery or life extension. In fact, hospice is generally defined by its being a healthy acceptance of end of life. In hospice, patients focus on quality of life more than on life extension. Both palliative and hospice care offer holistic options for resolving emotional and psychological responses to pain and mortality. Family counseling options may be available, depending on the insurance coverage. The primary goal of both palliative care and hospice is to increase comfort.

One difference between palliative care and hospice is that palliative care almost always takes place in a formal medical facility because it will involve the use of medications like painkillers. Hospice, on the other hand, entails care options that can be administered in the comfort of one’s own home, assisted living facility, or nursing home. Another difference between palliative care and hospice is how insurance companies view these two methods, with Medicare and Medicaid being more likely to cover hospice, and private insurance offering the coverage for palliative care. Each person’s situation will be considered differently. Hospice generally means care without the expectation for cure, and a physician may need to formally classify an individual as being eligible for hospice. On the other hand, patients in palliative care may have some expectation of recovery. Palliative care can include life extension and curative interventions. However, end of life counseling may be central to both palliative and hospice care.

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