Palliative vs Hospice Care

What is palliative care?  What is hospice care? 

The major difference between palliative and hospice care is palliative care is focused on nutrition, pain control and help during a life-threatening illness.  Hospice care typically provides comfort care only for presumably the last six months of your life but may be renewed up to a year.  Palliative care is for help in surviving a disease process with the least amount of pain and disruption to your family life.  So what are the reasons to accept palliative or hospice care?  “All things shared make all things easier”.  The doctors, nurses and aides have years of experience in knowing the ‘tricks of the trade’ and will gladly share their knowledge to help you through the disease.  My favorite tip is using a capful of mouthwash in a bedside commode after each use to kill germs and smell great!  Do not be afraid to accept help but enjoy the extra hands helping you navigate through each day as you face the need for either palliative or hospice care.

Hope with Hospice

Hope with Hospice

In light of Rev. Billy Graham’s homegoing, I would like to address the topic of Hospice.  Hospice focuses on relieving symptoms and supporting patients with a life expectancy of months, not years. It involves a team-oriented approach to give expert medical care, pain management and emotional and spiritual support not only to the patient but also to their caregivers. In most cases, this care is provided to a patient in his or her own home. However, it can also be provided in a freestanding facility, the hospital, or a nursing home.

It can be frightening if you dwell on the fact you may be alone with your loved one as they are facing the end of life.  “What will I do? Who can I call?” are a couple of the questions most caregivers think about.  Hospice can provide a tremendous amount of support and comfort.  Specialized nurses prefer to accept new patients into the program who are not imminently facing death.  They will provide care for up to six months and renew it every six months as needed.  Knowing someone will be there for you and help you with pain management, respiratory care, bowel and bladder care or other issues will never be a waste of time! 

In some areas, there are multiple agencies providing this care.  If you happen to not like the first agency, do not be afraid to talk to your doctor and request a different agency. 

Philippians 1:21 “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”