Navigating the Differences Between Hospice and Palliative Care

Posted By on November 15, 2019

While palliative care is becoming an increasingly sought out care option, many people may still not know what these services are or what they provide. Often confused with hospice care, palliative care focuses on providing relief from the symptoms, discomfort, physical stress, and mental stress at any stage of illness.

While HarborChase Senior Living communities do not offer hospice or palliative care, we believe it is important for you to understand all the options of care available to you or your loved one(s). With this blog, we hope to help you better understand these services and their differences.

Understanding Palliative Care

Palliative care, also known as “supportive care”, is an option one may choose after being diagnosed with a life-limiting illness i.e., cancer, congestive heart failure, etc. and wants to continue treatment while also limiting adverse side effects. Palliative care has a heavy emphasis on relieving symptoms like discomfort, loss of appetite, and other physical and mental stressors that coincide with such illnesses.

Though certain medical treatments, like chemotherapy, can help manage an illness, the goal of palliative care is to also manage the symptoms associated with these types of treatments. In addition to improving the quality of life and helping to manage symptoms, palliative care can help those dealing with an illness better understand their choices for treatment. While palliative care is an option in the end-of-life care stage, it is not exclusive to that stage, unlike hospice care.

The World Health Organization (WHO) states that over 40 million people worldwide require palliative care, but only 14% of those seek treatment due to a lack of public awareness and a lack of training and knowledge among healthcare professionals.

Understanding Hospice Care

Hospice care is an end-of-life care option for those whose illness is not responding to medical treatments (either to cure or slow its progress). This care option seeks to give a person diagnosed with a serious illness the ability to live their life by their terms. Hospice care, commonly referred to as end-of-life care, does not seek to cure, but to alleviate symptoms of the illness, and place the recipient of care in a more comfortable state while offering all levels of support (medical, emotional, and spiritual). A member of the hospice team visits regularly, and someone is always available by phone—24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Understanding Alternative Care Options

In addition to hospice and palliative care, depending on your loved one’s situation, skilled nursing care could be an alternative option to consider. Skilled nursing care offers 24-hour care , seven days a week, therapies, and compassionate, licensed professionals. Furthermore, skilled nursing can help someone recently hospitalized and in need of rehabilitation services before transitioning back home.

HarborChase Senior Living understands that navigating care options can be difficult. It’s important to speak with your loved one and their healthcare provider to ensure the care option you choose is the right choice for everyone involved. If you are interested in learning more about HarborChase Senior Living, we encourage you to visit our website.


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