Palliative care and hospice care are terms that are often used interchangeably, but they can refer to slightly different approaches. The main difference is that with palliative care, the patient continues to receive their necessary medications for health maintenance, whereas hospice usually only administers medication necessary to keep the patient comfortable and as pain-free as possible.
Both palliative care and hospice care focus on keeping the patient comfortable, and therefore optimizing the patient’s quality of life during the end-of-life stage of a terminal illness. Such illnesses often include cancer, HIV/AIDS, kidney disease, heart disease, lung disease, or dementia.
Let’s talk about some of the distinctions between palliative care and hospice care, and where you can go to find out more about this specialized healthcare.
Palliative Treatment for a Chronic Condition
With palliative care, your loved one continues to receive treatment for their chronic and underlying health conditions, such as blood pressure medicine or cholesterol medicine. Treatment will also be administered to alleviate any pain and provide relief from other symptoms as well. For example, your loved one may receive breathing treatments to address a chronic lung condition.
Sometimes with palliative care, the treatment revolves around lessening the harsh side effects of a medication. For instance, if your loved one receives chemotherapy, the palliative treatment might include medicine to combat nausea.
Moving from Palliative Care to Hospice Care
Once your loved one reaches the stage where they do not respond to health-maintenance medicines, they will warrant hospice care. In hospice, the patient will no longer receive treatment to extend their life. Any treatments given are to keep your loved one comfortable despite the illness – and some treatment may continue for the specific purpose of easing pain, such as with chemotherapy.
Every hospice has one or more physicians on staff to monitor and care for the patient. Doctors and nurses can evaluate a patient’s level of pain based on things such as blood pressure, breathing pattern, and heart rate, and medicine can then be administered to quell the pain.
Stage of Disease the Care Is For
Hospice care is only for the end stage of a chronic or terminal condition. Generally, a person goes into hospice if they have six months or less to live. If your loved one goes into remission from their chronic illness while in hospice, they will go back to receiving palliative care.
Full-Service Hospice Care in Bastrop, TX
Here at Serenity Hospice, we have highly trained medical professionals who understand end-of-life issues and how they affect the patient and their family members. We provide individualized care to your loved one with an approach that addresses their physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation to find out more about our services and our facilities, contact Serenity Hospice today by calling us at (512) 985-6107 or by filling out our easy-to-use information request form online now. We look forward to serving you and your family during these difficult times.