Differences Between Hospice and Palliative Care

With as many as 1.5 million Americans seeking hospice treatment in recent years. As a program designed to facilitate “palliative” care for terminally ill patients and their families—many people wonder, what then is the difference between hospice and palliative care, or are they one in the same?

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American hospice service started with the Connecticut Hospice in March 1974. Today, there are over 2,884 Medicare-certified hospices, and an additional 200 volunteer hospices in the U.S., with as many as 1.5 million Americans seeking hospice treatment in recent years. As a program designed to facilitate “palliative” care for terminally ill patients and their families—many people wonder, what then is the difference between hospice and palliative care, or are they one in the same? While palliative care addresses patients with life-threatening illnesses, anyone—regardless of life expectancy—can receive this type of care. Hospice, meanwhile, provides for patients who can no longer benefit from regular medical treatment, per a doctor’s determination, and are in the last stages of a terminal illness. Hospice and palliative care share the philosophy of maintaining and managing the patient’s quality of life.

Palliative care programs generally address the physical, psychosocial, and spiritual needs and expectations of a patient with a life-threatening illness, at any time during that illness, even if life expectancy extends to years. Palliative care does not preclude aggressive treatment of an illness, and provides comfort to patients and their loved ones. Patients receive palliative care from a team of doctors, nurses, social workers and clergy in their home or a hospital, but also in nursing or assisted living facilities. Hospitals, hospi...Click here to read more from Gilbert Guide

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