It’s important to understand the differences between palliative care and hospice care. This way, you know what to expect if these types of care are offered to your loved one. Though it may be upsetting to entertain long-term care options, these services can greatly improve your loved one’s quality of life. They can also provide you and your family with the emotional and spiritual support you deserve.
Let’s explain the key differences between palliative care and hospice care so that you can make informed decisions for your loved one.
Palliative care can be offered at any stage of any illness. Even if your loved one is expected to make a full recovery, they can receive palliative care. This type of care can also be used in conjunction with curative treatments.
The purpose of palliative care is to help you, your loved one and your family cope with the symptoms of the illness and the side effects from the treatments. By relieving some of these effects, patients can better tolerate the treatments and have a more comfortable and successful recovery.
Hospice care is offered to patients who are not expected to live past 6 months. However, hospice is not a death sentence. Patients can live longer, they are just sick enough that death is a possibility.
The purpose of hospice is to make your loved one as comfortable as possible as they near the end of life. Hospice incorporates both spiritual and emotional support for family members and patients. It is generally not used with curative treatments.
Improving Quality of Life
Whether your loved one is being offered palliative or hospice care, don’t be afraid to accept it. Both types of care are designed to relieve pain, stress and other symptoms while improving quality of life. Additionally, family members can benefit from palliative or hospice care because there is built-in support for families.
Some of the symptoms that palliative care is successful at relieving include:
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of appetite
- Trouble sleeping
Hospice care will address all symptoms that your loved one is experiencing, though pain control is the central goal.
The illnesses that palliative care is most widely used for include:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Kidney failure
- Severe arthritis
If your loved one is chronically ill, talk to your loved one’s doctors about which route of care is best. Be sure to welcome the emotional support that is available for your healing as well.