Understanding Palliative and Hospice Care
When facing a progressive terminal illness or end-of-life care decisions, many families turn to palliative or hospice care for relief. Both models of care are designed to improve quality of life, but they have differences. Understanding how palliative care differs from hospice and knowing the benefits of each will help you advocate on behalf of your loved ones and make informed decisions regarding their care.
Who is eligible?
Palliative care is designed for someone with a chronic or incurable disease, regardless of stage or life expectancy.
Hospice care is for someone with a serious illness whom doctors think has a short life expectancy.
What type of care is provided?
This type of care helps provide relief from the pain, symptoms, and emotional distress caused by a serious illness or its treatments. Palliative care can be used along with curative treatments.
This type of care is focused on managing pain and other symptoms to improve quality of life. Hospice care is centered around comfort without seeking curative treatment.
Why is this right for me or for a loved one?
The goal of palliative care is to improve quality of life throughout the course of an illness.
The goal of hospice is to keep you as comfortable, and pain- and symptom-free as possible.
Where does this take place?
Palliative care is typically provided in a hospital or care facility setting.
Hospice can be provided wherever you call home (i.e. your own home, hospice residences, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, veterans’ facilities), or, in hospitals.
How is this covered?
Most private insurance companies will cover the costs, although there may be co-payments. Medicare and Medicaid will likewise cover many of the costs.
Hospice is covered by Medicare, Medicaid, VA benefits, and most private insurance companies.