Hospice care and Palliative have similarities: both provide care for patients with fatal illnesses. As a supplement to some of the more traditional care options, both palliative and hospice care protocols call for patients to receive a combined approach where medications, day-to-day care, equipment, bereavement counseling, and symptoms treatment are administered through a single program. The differences between the two programs lay in the location, timing, and treatment.
The location where palliative care is delivered is most common in an institution such as a hospital, extended care facility, or nursing home that is associated with a palliative care team. This is because a team of doctors, nurses, and other professional medical caregivers will administer or oversee most of the ongoing comfort-care patients receive. But, palliative care can also be delivered at home.
Meanwhile, hospice care is administered in the home by a team of hospice professionals. Hospice often relies upon the family caregiver, as well as a visiting hospice nurse.
Palliative care can be received by patients any time, at any stage of illness whether it be terminal or not. There are no time restrictions. However, hospice care requires that a physician certify that a patient’s condition is terminal. The patient’s expectancy should be six months or less.
Treatments are not limited with palliative care and there is no expectation that life-prolonging therapies will be avoided. Palliative care treatment can range from conservative to aggressive/curative. While this is the case for palliative care, hospice care treatments, on the other hand, concentrate on comfort. The goal is no longer cure, but to provide comfort to the patient for the remaining days of their lives.
There are differences between palliative care and hospice care. And yet, there is a relationship between the two at the same time. They are very similar when it comes to the most important issue for dying people: care.