Palliative Care vs Hospice Care: Understanding The Difference

While both hospice and palliative care are provided to individuals with life threatening illnesses, these two types of care are actually quite different. Understanding the differences between these two care options can help to ensure you are choosing the right end-of-life care for you or your loved ones.

Option #1: Hospice Care

Hospice care is the most well known option when it comes to end-of-life care. However, while most people have a basic understanding of what hospice care is, they may not understand the specifics, such as where this care is provided or how this care is paid for.

Traditionally, hospice care is provided in the patient's home. This feature of hospice care is often welcomed by patients who wish to enjoy the comfort of their own home in their final days. Consequently, it is expected that patients in hospice care will not be seeking treatment for their disease, but rather attempting to find comfort from the symptoms of this disease.

In order to be eligible for hospice care, a patient's primary doctor must determine that their condition is terminal. Furthermore, terminal patients may not be eligible for this care until after being given an life expectancy of no more than a few months.

While some insurance companies will offer full coverage for hospice care, others will only pay a portion of the overall cost for this treatment because the treatment is not administered in a licensed facility. Therefore, patients and their families should always check policy limits when determining whether or not hospice care is financially realistic for them.

Option #2: Palliative Care

Palliative care also seeks to provide individuals with comfort when suffering from a serious illness. However, rather than providing this comfort care in the patient's home, this care will often be administered in a hospital or nursing home.

Another key difference between hospice care and palliative care is the need for a patient to be terminal in order to qualify. While only terminal patients will qualify for hospice care, all seriously ill patients can receive palliative care at any stage of their illness. Consequently, many of the patients who are receiving palliative care will still seek out a treatment or cure for the disease from which they are suffering.

Since palliative care is often provided in a licensed facility, many patients will also find that they are able to easily receive coverage for this care through their insurance company. In fact, as long as this care is provided in an impatient setting, patients will typically receive coverage for everything from diagnostic test to prescription medications. Talk to places like Cornerstone Hospice and Palliative Care for more information.