Families coping with a medical setback, illness, or disability may require help meeting their needs and enjoying their best possible quality of life. Home health care services offer that extra help, with an array of clinical specialties. Two of those specialties—hospice care and palliative care—provide customized pain management services in the comfort of home, but in different ways and for different patient populations.
If someone you love is in pain, hospice or palliative care may be the right option to help them feel better and to support you as a family caregiver. Regardless of our medical challenges—and every person has their own journey and experience—we all want to make the most of our time with loved ones. The more comfortable we feel, the better our quality of life and sense of well-being can be!
The differences between hospice and palliative care
The main thing to understand is that that each serves a different type of individual, at different stages in their health care journey.
Hospice care serves people who have a life-limiting illness and have decided to stop trying to prolong their life. Typically, a person enters hospice when their doctor has given a life-expectancy prognosis of 6 months or less. Once they’re hospice-certified, however, patient care continues through the end of life, and family bereavement support continues after that.
Palliative care serves people who are in treatment for a serious or chronic condition such as stroke, heart disease, cancer, kidney failure, or COPD. It is delivered as part of a comprehensive, therapeutic care plan to prevent complications and improve or maintain health condition and function. The assessment and care plan are done collaboratively by their doctor and home care RN clinical manager.
What is pain management and comfort care?
First, a quick background: You may remember that pain used to be considered an unfortunate but sometimes unavoidable result of illness and injury. After a hospitalization, for example, a certain level of pain was expected and usually managed only with a pharmaceutical prescription.
Today, a lot more is understood about pain management and comfort care. Many modalities—forms of medical and non-medical treatment—are widely known, available, and used in combination at home to meet an individual’s specific needs.
Comfort care has a dual aim: to reduce stress and to offer complex symptom relief. It’s become a medical priority now that a large body of research has shown that individuals who experience less pain and discomfort tend to achieve better health outcomes. Health, well-being, quality of life, and pain-related stress are interconnected. When we feel better, we can do better.
Hospice and palliative care are the two health care specialties that provide these services at home. Let’s look closer at their definition and differences, to decide which one is right for you.
What is hospice care?
Hospice is a compassionate philosophy of care that supports patients and families through the end-of-life process. Hospice is meant for individuals who have decided to stop curative treatment and, instead, take advantage of comprehensive medical and non-medical services to meet their mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional needs. Pain management and comfort care—also known as palliative care—is just one part of the peace, dignity, and yes, even joy hospice services can help to provide at the end of life.
Read stories from some of our Hospice patients here.
What is palliative care?
Palliative care—also known as comfort care—aims to relieve pain and suffering so individuals can achieve their best possible outcomes. Its specialized medical and non-medical services are offered as just one part of a comprehensive home health care plan. Palliative care can be provided at any stage of illness according to doctor’s orders and your personal health or recovery goals.
Where can I get started?
When your household needs extra support for medical reasons, professional one-on-one home health care services are available to help. That compassionate help and medical expertise can be delivered according to your wishes, on your schedule, 24/7.
To find services in your area or to discuss the possibilities for care and insurance coverage, call BAYADA at 888-341-3888.