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Palliative Care vs Hospice Care Services

The image above is of Hospice Patients by Length of Service in 2014.

Across the United States, palliative care is considered a collaborative approach to medical care for patients receiving curative treatment for the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. Hospice care refers to a similar collaborative approach to care and comfort of a patient, but the patient currently is not seeking or receiving curative treatments for their illness.

One of the main goals for both care methods is to improve the quality of life for the patient and their family. Palliative and hospice services bring the patient, family, and caregivers together to make decisions on care and the expectations for treatments.

The biggest differences in palliative and hospice care are typically the location of where a patient receives treatment and the treatment itself. The location will differ as hospice care tends to be provided in a home setting where there is less of a dependence on doctors as curative treatment is not being administered. Patients receiving palliative care services continue to explore life extending treatments and rely more on the day to day monitoring and testing of those treatments.

Aside from location, we also see differences in the treatments provided for patients in hospice and those receiving palliative care. Hospice treatments focus more on the comfort, both mental and physical, of a patient and making the most of their remaining time. Palliative care focuses on addressing the illness and treating to prolong the length of one’s life.

To enroll in a hospice program or receive benefits from an insurance company, recipients must generally be considered terminally ill or be within six months of death. In a study conducted in 2015 by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) over 35 percent of hospice patients remained under hospice for less than 7 days whereas only 10.3 percent remained in hospice over 180 days.

Now that we have defined the differences between the services offered, below we’ll take at local palliative and hospice service providers in Austin, TX and their unique, personalized treatment methods.

Information and data pulled from the Care Givers Library article on Hospice and Palliative Care and the NHPCO’s Facts and Figures – Hospice Care in America 2015 Edition found here.