Similar But Different: Hospice Care vs. Palliative Care

Understanding Your Options

Many elderly adults are placed and die in facilities, like nursing homes and hospitals, that are inconsistent with their needs and wishes for their end-of-life care. For this reason, it is essential to know an older person’s desires when it comes to their preferred care setting, how long they have left to live, and their decisions when it comes to life-extending and curative treatment.

When looking into end-of-life care for yourself or an elderly loved one, it is important that you understand your options.

Hospice Care

What is Hospice Care?

Hospice care is focused more on an individual’s quality of life for patients and their caregivers rather than treatment. Hospice care is designed to treat the symptoms associated with a patient’s illness rather than trying to cure it.

This type of care is generally reserved for those experiencing advanced-stages of life-limiting or incurable illnesses to help them live as comfortably as possible while their disease runs its course.

When Is Hospice Care an Option?

When an individual is living with a life-limiting illness, there may come the point where treatment is no longer a viable option to cure or prevent the progression of the illness. Generally, hospice care should start when a patient is expected to live for 6 months or less.

Where Does Hospice Care Take Place?

Hospice care can be given wherever the patient prefers to receive care, whether that is at home, in an assisted living facility, or even in the hospital.

Palliative Care

What is Palliative Care?

The goal of palliative care is to provide patients who are living with or being treated for a chronic illness with comfort and support. Also known as comfort care or symptom relief, palliative care is done to prevent and treat the symptoms and side effects associated with a patient’s condition rather than treating the condition itself. Palliative care can be given while the patient is still undergoing treatment. This type of care is part of hospice care or can occur independently.

When is Palliative Care an Option?

Palliative care can begin at any point, whether that is when they are diagnosed with the illness, throughout treatment, post-treatment, or even as end-of-life care.

Palliative care is often provided to those with life-limiting and chronic illnesses such as:

  • Cancer
  • Dementia
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Heart Disease
  • Lung Disease
  • Kidney Disease
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Sickle Cell Anemia
  • Huntington’s Disease
  • Eosinophil Associated Disease (EAD)

Where Does Palliative Care Take Place?

More often than not, palliative care is an in-home service. However, there are circumstances where patients may receive palliative care in the hospital or an inpatient facility dependent upon an individual’s needs. When these circumstances arise, a team of caregivers will remain a part of your care.

What Does Palliative Care Include?

Palliative care is meant to address all areas of a patient’s life that are affected by their life-limiting illness. A team of healthcare professionals works with the patient and their family to provide and seek support for the following issues:

  • Pain management
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Shortness of breath
  • Emotional distress
  • Mental health issues
  • Spiritual guidance
  • Counseling services
  • Practical matters such as money, legal, and job-related problems

The Difference Between Hospice Care and Palliative Care

While both hospice care and palliative care are meant to provide patients with comfort and dignity, they are different. Palliative care can begin as early as diagnosis and be given throughout the treatment process. Hospice care, on the other hand, starts after treatment for the illness has stopped, and the patient is transitioning into end-of-life care. Hospice care is most commonly introduced when the patient has 6 months or less left to live.

Hospice and Palliative Care Services in Ridgecrest, California

At Ridgecrest Regional Hospital, our team of trained professionals is dedicated to providing services with maximum independence and dignity to seniors of Ridgecrest and surrounding areas. To learn more about our hospice care, palliative care, and other senior services give us a call at (760) 446-3551 (Mon-Fri 8 AM -4:30 PM).