Hospice care and palliative care are very similar when it comes to caring for those who suffer from life-limiting illnesses. Most people have heard of hospice care and have a general understanding of what it entails. What people don’t know or what can be confusing is that hospice provides “palliative care,” and this includes administering “comfort” care and is generally offered most by hospitals. Hospice and palliative care both require for patients to receive daily care, medications, medical equipment, symptom management, and support services which are all provided through both of these programs. Experts say that it is only when a person has a life expectancy of six months or less due to their condition and diagnosis that their “palliative care” turns over to hospice care.
However, people can continue to receive hospice care for several years (as long as they meet medical criteria) and because of the services and extra support given, they can have a better quality of life. They sometimes often live longer too than they would with just conventional care. Hospice care not only provides patients and families with nursing support in their own home, but it also offers spiritual and emotional help as well for all involved including family members and caregivers. Since palliative care will generally be recommended and started through a hospital or regular medical provider, most likely your regular medical insurance will cover this service. It’s important however, to note that each item/service provided will be billed separately, exact same as a doctor or hospital visit. With palliative care, prescriptions are billed separately and are only covered as provided by your regular insurance. When enrolled in hospice care, all services including medications and medical equipment needed are covered 100%. Hospice accepts Medicare, Medicaid, commercial insurance and some are even contracted with the VA (CompassionCare Hospice is)
Hospice itself is centered on palliative care, the management of pain and symptoms. Traditional medicine treats the disease, where hospice attends, with compassion and respect to the whole patient. CompassionCare Hospice can help you understand the nature of your illness, the likely outcome of your course of treatment and what will happen next. At some point a decision may have to be made, not about ceasing all care, but about weighing the benefits of treatment vs quality of life. What matters most may not be more time, but the ability to more fully enjoy the time we have with those we love.