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If you have an ailing loved one who needs professional care, you have probably been researching different options. You may have read about long-term care, hospice, and maybe even palliative care. If you’re like most, you may be unclear about the difference between hospice and palliative care. This is not without reason. Use this guide to determine which one will best meet your loved one’s needs.

Hospice Care vs. Palliative Care: Defined

Palliative care includes any treatment for a long-term illness. Technically, hospice care is a specialized type of palliative care. While not all palliative care is hospice, all hospice care is palliative in nature. Both focus on relieving symptoms and making patients comfortable. Consider the following differences between hospice and palliative care:

1) Terminal illness.

While palliative care includes treatment for any long term illness, hospice care focuses only on terminal illness. To qualify for hospice care an individual must be terminally ill or only have a certain number of months left to live. A prognosis of the illness is required. Palliative care requires no prognosis and may be administered at any stage of illness.

2) Curative measures.

Since palliative care is given at any stage of an illness, it more often includes curative measures. Attempts may be made to stop an illness in its tracks. Hospice care, on the other hand, sometimes includes curative measures, but not often.

3) At Home or In a Facility?

Traditionally hospice care is most often administered in the home while palliative care is normally in a hospital or long-term care or assisted living facility. However, at Unlimited Care Cottages, we are equipped to provide all levels of palliative care, including hospice care, to residents living in our cozy cottages.

4) Holistic vs. Medical

The purpose of hospice is primarily to help individuals live out their last days peacefully and comfortably. For this reason, it is often more holistic in nature. Caregivers may attend to the patient’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Palliative care is typically much more medical in nature. The primary purpose is to manage pain and symptoms, or to cure the illness. Individuals who require hospice care are likely beyond curative measures already.

5) Independence vs. Dignity

Palliative care focuses on maximizing an individual’s independence while alleviating symptoms. Hospice care focuses on giving the individual dignity, comfort, relief of symptoms and pain, and emotional support as they approach the end of life.

Determine What’s Best

It’s hard to see a loved one suffer from a chronic illness. You want to give them the very best of the right kind of care they need.  In determining whether your loved one needs hospice care vs. palliative care, consider their prognosis and life expectancy. Are curative measures appropriate? Use this guide to determine whether your loved one needs hospice or palliative care. For more information on hospice or palliative care, Contact Us.