Making healthcare decisions surrounding a loved one’s illness can be emotionally taxing. During this process, you may ask yourself: What is palliative care vs. hospice?

Although both are similar in several respects, there are key differences. It may be confusing to navigate these options as a caregiver and determine what’s most appropriate for your relative.

That’s why Coral Senior Care Consultants, our senior living experts, have provided detailed information to help you learn more about palliative care and hospice.

Image of sick senior man in hospice with wife comforting him.
Sick senior man laying on a bed and his wife standing next to him in hospice

What Is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is specialized medical care focused on treating long-term illnesses to improve quality of life. Treatment can begin at the onset of the illness and continue as needed. 

Some conditions may include:

  • Heart failure
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Cancer
  • Dementia
  • Parkinson’s disease

The patient’s symptoms are effectively managed by concentrating on improving quality of life. Medical professionals help them understand and explore their potential treatment options. 

With palliative care, there’s a medical team of different specialists that offer medical, social, emotional, and practical support. This care can be provided at hospitals, nursing homes, or outpatient clinics.

What Is Hospice?

Hospice is medical care for those with a terminal, incurable illness with an anticipated life expectancy of 6 months or less. With an interdisciplinary team of medical professionals, they address the physical, psychosocial, and spiritual needs of patients. Furthermore, they address your loved one’s discomfort and work on pain management when sickness becomes unbearable. 

This team also directly coordinates communication with the patient and supports the family through the transition to loss. Bereavement care extends for the family up to a year following the death of the patient. 

Key Differences Between Hospice and Palliative Care

When exploring what is palliative care vs. hospice, there are several distinctions to consider:  

  • Hospice focuses on supporting the patient through their last moments without suffering. They could receive medication that enhances their quality of life. Yet curative treatment is no longer pursued since it would be ineffective.
  • Palliative care focuses on achieving the individual’s highest quality of life while addressing their other needs (i.e., mental and physical). Curative treatments are continued as long as they remain successful. If they’re not working, hospice may be suggested.
  • Palliative care can be a resource for anyone managing a serious illness. But when all other options have failed, doctors may advise hospice.

Is Palliative Care Or Hospice For You?

Deciding whether hospice or palliative care is suitable for a family member may be challenging. When a loved one suffers from an illness and can no longer make decisions for themselves, caregivers can assume responsibility. Choosing between hospice and palliative care may be stressful, especially if you don’t have all the answers. When battling uncertainty, consult doctors about your family member’s condition before making a determination.

If you’re relative is living with and treating a chronic illness, palliative care may be beneficial since it’s geared toward improving the patient’s condition. 

However, when their condition is terminal and intractable with no possibility for treatment, hospice will better assist with end-of-life care. Hospice caters to creating comfort to ease the transition to passing. Family bereavement support continues approximately a year after a loved one’s death. 

If you are uncertain whether your loved one’s illness is incurable, a medical professional will suggest the most appropriate option. 

Can Coral Senior Care Consultants Guide Me With Palliative and Hospice Care?

Are you struggling to make the best decision for a senior or relative? Don’t worry! You don’t have to do this alone. Our experienced professionals at Coral Senior Care Consultants can help you determine whether palliative care or hospice is appropriate. Located in Tampa Bay, Florida.

We are dedicated to aiding families with senior living options.

We specialize in:

  • Guiding seniors with health conditions
  • Performing comprehensive assessments to determine individual’s needs
  • Assisting families and seniors with living arrangements (i.e., assisted living, nursing homes, aging in place, senior living communities, etc.) 
  • Developing personalized care plans tailored to each client’s unique situation
  • Providing ongoing care and support throughout the caregiving process

If you have any senior care questions, please contact one of our representatives today!