Palliative Care is care provided to seriously ill patients that aims to improve quality of life, reduce suffering and provide an extra layer of support to the patient and their family. Palliative care is not the same as hospice but embraces the hospice philosophy.
Palliative care may be provided at any point during a person’s illness, even right from the time of diagnosis. Palliative care is appropriate at any age, at any stage of disease, and along with any other type of treatment a patient may be receiving.
Palliative care is offered simultaneously with all other appropriate medical treatment to manage the underlying chronic illness from the time of diagnosis. The combination of chronic disease management and palliative care provides the patient with the “best care” blending the art and science of medicine, while recognizing the limits of medicine.
Palliative care is provided by a team of health care professionals in all clinical settings that integrates the physical as well as the emotional, social, psychological and spiritual needs of the patient. Palliative care involves the patient and family with the health care team working together to ensure that the patient experiences care that is compassionate, supportive, comforting, and in line with their personal goals for care.
Hospice care is palliative care at the end of life. To enter the hospice program a person’s life expectancy must be six months or less and the patient must make a commitment to forgo care focused on treatment of the underlying disease and continue with care focused on comfort and relief of symptoms.
Hospice is designed to provide comfort and support to patients and their families when a serious illness no longer responds to medical treatment. Hospice care neither prolongs life nor hastens death.
Hospice care is provided by a team-oriented group of specially trained professionals, volunteers and family members. Hospice staff and volunteers offer a specialized knowledge of medical care, including pain and symptom management.
The goal of hospice care is to improve quality and reduce suffering of a patient’s last few months. Hospice deals with the emotional, social and spiritual impact of the disease on the patient and the patient’s family and friends.
Hospice offers a variety of bereavement and counseling services to families before and after a patient’s death.
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