There are currently more than 1.4 million hospice patients in the United States and millions more who require palliative care.

Are you or someone you love struggling with long-term pain or having difficulty recovering from a serious illness? Do you need help staying comfortable and managing your health from home?

If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, you may be planning on hiring a professional for additional support. You may also be wondering whether hospice or palliative care is a better option.

Read on to learn more about the differences between hospice vs palliative care. You’ll also receive some tips on how to choose which one is right for your loved one or for you.

What Is Hospice?

Hospice care is designed to provide physical comfort and compassion, as well as a feeling of dignity, to those who are suffering from a life-limiting illness. Hospice care at home is specifically meant for those whose life expectancy is, at the most, six months.

When a patient stops receiving treatment for their illness, hospice care becomes an option to them. A patient may stop receiving treatment because they, personally, choose to no longer undergo it, or because they no longer have any treatment options available to them.

Where Does Hospice Care Take Place?

Many people assume that hospice care always takes place in a patient’s home. While this is often the case, it can also take place in a hospital, a long-term care facility, or in a special hospice residence.

Regardless of where it takes place, hospice care always provides patients with the medications and treatments they need to remain comfortable and spend meaningful time with their loved ones at the end of their lives.

Benefits of Hospice Care

There are a lot of benefits that come with choosing hospice care. Some specific reasons why people choose it include the following:

  • Allows the patient to spend the remainder of their life in a comfortable, familiar setting
  • Provides them with a comprehensive plan and access to trained medical professionals
  • Provides personalized support and care
  • Respects the patient’s personal wishes
  • Provides access to counseling for patients and their loved ones

Hospice care can also be quite affordable. It’s often covered, at least in part, by Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance policies.

Misconceptions About Hospice Care

There’s a common misconception that opting for hospice care is a sign of “giving up.” That’s not the case, though.

Hospice care does not shorten a patient’s life in any way. Once a person starts receiving hospice care, their symptoms may still improve. If this happens, their care can be suspended and they may be able to start receiving curative treatment again.

Hospice provides closure, compassion, and comfort to patients and their families. It’s a sign of strength to accept support and give your loved one the care they need.

What Is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is mainly meant for people who are suffering from a chronic, long-term illness. Examples of such illnesses include Parkinson’s disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and dementia.

Unlike hospice care, which is available only to those who have a maximum of six months to live, palliative care does not depend on the life expectancy of the patient.

Palliative care often begins at the time a patient is diagnosed. It can begin at any stage of their illness, though.

Where Does Palliative Care Take Place

Palliative care often takes place in a hospital or another type of long-term care facility. However, some patients do choose to receive palliative care in their own homes.

As with hospice care, palliative care offers patients access to a team of doctors and nurses. They also can work with other specialists who provide them with the support and treatments they need to enjoy a higher quality of life even as their disease progresses.

Benefits of Palliative Care

Palliative care, like hospice care, provides patients with comfort, a sense of dignity, and access to resources they need in order to feel their best.

The benefits of palliative care are similar to those offered by hospice professionals.

This type of care gives patients and their families a comprehensive plan that is personalized to their specific needs and conditions. It also provides the patient’s loved ones with access to counseling and other services.

Misconceptions About Palliative Care

One of the most common misconceptions about palliative care is that it’s only available to patients at the end of their life. This isn’t the case, though. In fact, the earlier a patient starts receiving palliative care, the better off they’re likely to be.

Research shows that early palliative can provide patients with a higher quality of life. It also helps them to experience a more positive mood and outlook on their condition and minimizes the severity of their symptoms even as their illness continues to progress.

Hospice vs Palliative Care: Which Should You Choose?

As you can see, there are benefits to both hospice care and palliative care. The main difference between these two options is the progress of the person’s illness.

If the person has a life expectancy of six months or less, hospice care is likely the better option. For those who have recently been diagnosed or who do not have a specific time frame associated with their illness, palliative care may be a better fit.

Palliative care is also a better option for those who have their own private insurance, as it is not covered by Medicare or Medicaid, as is the case for hospice care.

Learn More About Hospice Services Today

Now that you know more about hospice vs palliative care, do you have a clearer idea of which one you want to choose for yourself or for your loved one?

Both are good options. Your final choice will depend on the progress of you or your loved one’s illness, as well as your or their specific needs and wishes.

If you’re leaning toward hospice care and live in or around the Oxford, Michigan area, we can help at Cardinal Hospice. Contact us today to learn more about our services and our mission.