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MYTH: Palliative care is the same as hospice care

A common misconception is that hospice and palliative care are the same thing. You wouldn’t be alone if you thought this too. The main difference is that palliative care can be used at any stage of a chronic illness. The illness doesn’t have to be terminal in order use the services.

What is it?

Palliative care doesn’t replace primary treatments; it works together with the care you are already receiving. It focuses on pain, symptom, and stress management to increase quality of life. A physician's referral is required to begin palliative care services.

Hospice care focuses on the pain, symptom, and stress management during a terminal illness. An interdisciplinary team works with the patient's family and primary care provider to increase quality of life.

Can someone still receive curative treatments?

People receiving palliative care can still pursue curative treatments.

The goal of hospice care is to provide comfort through pain and symptom management, as well as psychosocial support when curative treatments are no longer beneficial or used.

What services are provided?

In palliative care, services include advance care planning, community resources, education on treatment options, in-person and phone visits, and pain and symptom management.

Hospice care includes 24-hour on call service, advance care planning, bereavement, community resources, care in the home, counseling, education on treatment options, inpatient care, medical equipment, medications, pain and symptom management, respite care, spiritual care, and volunteer services.

Who is on the care team?

Palliative care is provided by a physician, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, nurse, social worker, or spiritual care coordinator.

Hospice care is provided by an interdisciplinary team led by a physician and includes a nurse, social worker, spiritual care, certified nursing assistant, volunteers, and bereavement coordinators, as well as other therapies.

How long can someone receive services?

Palliative care doesn’t have a time limit on how long you can be on services. Each person's journey will be different and will depend on their needs and the insurance provider and coverage they have.

Hospice care is measured in months, not years, and depends on meeting Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance’s criteria.

Who pays for care?

Palliative care is covered through Medicare part B, Medicaid, and most private insurances. Each payor source is different, and some treatments and medications may not be covered or require a co-pay.

Hospice is covered fully by the Medicare hospice benefit, Medicaid, and most private insurances for care related to the terminal diagnosis. Each payor source is different, and some treatments and medications may not be covered or require a co-pay.

When should I consider care for myself or a loved one?

Palliative care should be considered for anyone with an advanced chronic illness.

Hospice care is often not utilized soon enough when it comes to a life-limiting illness. When the focus of care changes from curative therapies to symptom management and comfort care, hospice should be considered.

Whether you or your loved one would benefit from palliative or hospice care, Caring Circle can help you decide what program and services will best fit your needs. Call us today at 800.717.3811 for more information or for a free nurse evaluation.

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For more information call
(269) 429-7100 or
(800) 717-3811

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