What is Palliative Care

Palliative care is a form of healthcare that places focus on relieving the pains and strains of patients. Palliative care is usually given to people with severe and life-threatening illnesses such as cancer, dementia, heart disease, lung disease, HIV/AIDS, and kidney failure. Palliative care is not a treatment of the diseases but can occur alongside treatment. It is meant to make patients feel better and address the side effects of treatment and disease. Palliative care caters to the mental, physical, spiritual, financial, emotional, and social problems that occur when people go through such traumatic ordeals. Palliative care can start at diagnosis and last through recovery.

Benefits Of Palliative Care

  1. Palliative care helps patients to feel better about themselves, which in turn provides them with a better quality of life.
  2. Palliative care helps the families of patients to cope with stress during the treatment of the illness.
  3. Palliative care can begin at diagnosis to offer steady support for the patient.
  4. Palliative care can help patients explore beliefs that may be beneficial to them, such as spiritual beliefs.
  5. Palliative care can also help patients who need assistance with practical issues such as insurance and even medical costs.

Hospice Care

Hospice care is a type of palliative care. Hospice care, on the other hand, is the end of life care. It is also called comfort care. This is when the patient or the patient’s family chooses to stop receiving treatment. In this situation, the patient will typically have six months or less to live so the patient can decide to stop searching for a cure and focus on managing the pain and having a good quality of life till they pass on. Hospice care has four levels which are;

  1. Routine Home Care – This occurs regularly and involves the medical professional visiting the patient in their home. Focus is placed on feeling better and relieving the side effects of the disease.
  1. Continuous Home Care – This occurs when a patient needs at least 8 hours of care per day. This sort of care is usually provided by a nurse.
  1. General Inpatient Death – This occurs when symptoms have become so severe that the patient is unable to receive treatment at home; therefore, they need to be brought to a medical facility.
  1. Respite Care – Respite care is five days of respite for the family. This occurs when the family cannot take care of the patient; therefore, they will be admitted for five days to give the family time to recharge.

Benefits of Hospice Care

  1. Hospice care focuses on making the last days of the patient as pain-free as possible.
  2. Hospice care also provides relief for the family of the patient.
  3. Hospice care can also address the family’s grief at the patient’s death.

Palliative Care for the Elderly Vs. Hospice Care for the Elderly.

  1. Palliative Care for the elderly could be a great option if the older person suffers from a disease like dementia, which is not immediately life-threatening. Palliative care for the elderly will focus on providing comfort and relieving the aches of old age.
  1. Hospice Care is only for people who are at the end of their life. Therefore, if the older person is not suffering from a life-threatening disease or at the end of their life, they may not qualify for hospice care.
  1. Hospice care is always palliative, but palliative care is not always hospice care.

For more information on palliative care for the elderly, you can click here.