Both palliative and hospice are specialized care for seniors with serious illnesses. These two services work together with companion care to bring comfort and relief to seniors. For Palliative and Hospice, what is essential is providing physical, psychological relief and reducing stress to the individual, family member, and caregiver. Individuals can receive palliative and hospice care either in an in-home setting (homecare), in a facility (ALF, SNF, etc), or in a hospital.
Palliative care is for seniors who have serious illnesses such as cancer, dementia, heart failure, etc., and may receive medical care or treatment to cure their illness. The main focus of palliative care is enhancing the quality of life for the individual and family. The service can be given at any time to receive treatment on the disease; however, it is best provided soon after the individual is diagnosed.
While Hospice care is for seniors with serious illnesses who are approaching the end of life stages. The individual beginning in hospice understands the serious illness is not curable nor can slow the disease’s progress. Separate from palliative care, in hospice, the individual or family may stop the attempts to cure the person’s illness and instead provide comfort care. It is vital for a senior to discuss hospice care options with their family and doctor. Some may not be eligible enough to begin the services or receive the full services if they wait too long and are near death.
The significant difference between the two is that palliative care can begin early in the diagnosis and at the same time as treatment. While hospice care begins after treatment of the illness has stopped and can not survive the illness. Hospice care services are often only provided when the individual is expected to live six months or less.