Understanding the Difference Between Hospice and Palliative Care

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What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care involves providing relief from symptoms of illness while working to find a cure. In most cases, the patient will not have a terminal illness, but one that still requires significant medical treatment and care. Some examples of diseases that may require palliative care are congestive heart failure, stroke recovery, and liver disease.

In general, it is recommended to start palliative care as soon as possible, and it is possible to start it immediately at the time of diagnosis so it can run parallel to the treatment for the illness itself. The palliative care team will offer both medical care and emotional support throughout the treatments with the optimism that the patient will survive.

There are a variety of places that a patient can receive palliative care, ranging from hospitals or nursing homes to their own homes. If the patient has cancer, they may also receive this type of treatment in a specific cancer center. Palliative care can be given by any health care provider, but some specialize in it more than others. These professionals include doctors, nurses, physician assistants, psychologists, and social workers. The end goal of this type of treatment is to reduce pain and maximize comfort while doctors work to cure or treat your illness. It's normally expected that patients from these facilities will recover from the illness.

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What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care involves providing relief from symptoms of illness while working to find a cure. In most cases, the patient will not have a terminal illness, but one that still requires significant medical treatment and care. Some examples of diseases that may require palliative care are congestive heart failure, stroke recovery, and liver disease.

In general, it is recommended to start palliative care as soon as possible, and it is possible to start it immediately at the time of diagnosis so it can run parallel to the treatment for the illness itself. The palliative care team will offer both medical care and emotional support throughout the treatments with the optimism that the patient will survive.

There are a variety of places that a patient can receive palliative care, ranging from hospitals or nursing homes to their own homes. If the patient has cancer, they may also receive this type of treatment in a specific cancer center. Palliative care can be given by any health care provider, but some specialize in it more than others. These professionals include doctors, nurses, physician assistants, psychologists, and social workers.


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Hospice is a type of care that is given to individuals with terminal illnesses that are not expected to survive for more than six months. Typically, hospice care begins when doctors determine the person will not survive the illness and treatment of the disease is stopped. Since hospice patients are not expected to survive, the goal of the treatment is to offer care that will make them as comfortable as possible in their final days. The focus is truly on relieving pain and discomfort by treating symptoms on a day-to-day basis.

Due to the fact that the goal of hospice care is to maximize comfort, most patients receive treatment in their homes. Often the hospice nurses and doctors will visit the patient once or several times a day depending on the need, administering treatment and pain relief in the place where the patient feels most at ease. Since the patients are at home, their family members often spend a lot of time and effort caring for them as well. The hospice staff will assist family members and teach them how to help tend to their loved ones during this difficult time. If the individual's circumstances require more extensive equipment or round-the-clock professional care, it is possible that hospice care can be provided in a special hospice facility or nursing home.

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Most insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, will cover palliative care services so long as they are performed in a hospital or in specifically skilled rehabilitation or nursing facilities.

Hospice is generally covered in full by Medicare and most private insurance plans. However, each plan will have its own requirements that must be met before they can qualify for receiving covered hospice care.

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Westlake Village Hospice, Inc provides home hospice care for patients in Los Angeles, Arleta, Calabasas, Canoga Park, Burbank, Chatsworth, Encino, Glendale, Glenoaks, Granada HIlls, Hansen Hills, Hidden Hills, La Crescenta, Lake Balboa, Lake View Terrace, MIssion Hills, North Hills, North Hollywood, Northridge, Pacoima, Panorama City, Porter Ranch, Reseda, San Fernando, Shadow Hills, Sherman Oaks, Sun Valley, Sunland, Studio City, Sylmar, Tarzana, Toluca Lake, Toluca Terrace, Tujunga, Valley Glen, Valley Village, Van Nuys, Vergudo, West Hills, West Toluca Lake, Winnetka, Woodland Hills, Ventura County, Antelope Valley, and the San Fernando Valley.
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