Has someone suggested palliative care for your loved one? You may be wondering what this means. In this post, we will discuss what palliative care is, how it differs from hospice and what benefits you can expect to see.

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care refers to specialized medical care for individuals with serious illnesses. The goal is to provide patients with relief from their symptoms so that their quality of life is improved. Palliative care also takes some of the stress away from the family so that they, too, can enjoy a greater quality of life.

Only qualified doctors, nurses and other specialists can provide palliative care. These medical professionals work together with the patient’s other doctors to provide a full circle of support. Palliative care is available to patients of all ages and at any stage of their illness. It can even be provided alongside a curative treatment.

Is Palliative Care the Same as Hospice Care?

Palliative care is different from hospice in the fact that it is not only for those in the end stages of life. Hospice care is reserved for patients who are terminally ill or believed to be within six months of death.

Another difference between palliative care and hospice care is the way it is administered. Palliative care is provided by a team of doctors, while hospice usually involves a family caregiver and hospice nurse.

Additionally, hospice care is designed to make the end-of-life experience as comfortable as possible, whereas palliative care fills the gap for patients who need additional comfort. Hospice is palliative in nature, however, and both types of care are focused on comfort rather than cure.

What are the Advantages to Palliative Care?

Each person is unique, so it’s important to discuss your loved one’s case with their doctors. They can further explain what benefits you can expect to see for your family and loved one. Typically speaking, the benefits to receiving palliative care are:

  • Improved quality of life
  • More comfort and manageability of symptoms
  • Partnership of patient, doctors and family
  • Expert treatment of symptoms
  • Guidance with difficult medical decisions
  • Emotional support for patient and family
  • Enhanced communication

Palliative care is focused on making the patient comfortable rather than finding a cure. It works best when blended with other treatments and can make the recovery or end-of-life process more manageable.