Hospice vs. palliative care: Difference between hospice and palliative care? Let’s take a deep dive into both.
What is palliative care?
When deciding between hospice and Palliative care it is important to have a good understanding of both options. palliative care is compassionate comfort care driven by symptom relief, as well as physical and mental stress dissipation.
When faced with a life-limiting ailment, stress and anxiety start to skyrocket, not only for the patient but for the family members around them as well. Palliative care provides relief at the beginning of the journey, during treatment, and through the natural course of the disease.
The American Society of Clinical Oncology has identified the characteristics of a patient who should receive palliative care but not curative treatment; these characteristics apply to patients with other diseases, too.
- The patient has limited ability to care for himself.
- The patient has received curative treatment and is no longer benefitting from it.
- The patient does not qualify for an appropriate clinical trial.
- There is no evidence that further treatment would be effective.
When deciding between hospice and palliative care, these are important aspects to keep in mind.
What is Hospice care?
Hospice care is compassionate comfort care. The focus of hospice is to maintain the highest levels of comfort and ease any symptoms that arise while keeping stress and anxiety levels as low as possible during this process.
Hospice care is similar to palliative care, but there are important differences. Because more than 90 percent of hospice care is paid for through the Medicare hospice benefit, hospice patients must meet Medicare’s eligibility requirements; palliative care patients do not have to meet the same requirements.
Does Medicare Pay for Hospice
When a cure isn’t an option, most patients opt for comfort at home, among familiar things and familiar people. The Medicare Hospice Benefit provides access to services that address the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs that accompany a terminal illness.
You Qualify for the Medicare Hospice Benefit If You Meet These Conditions
- You are eligible for Medicare Part A (hospital insurance). See if you’re eligible at Medicare.gov.
- Your doctor and the hospice physician certify that your life expectancy is six months or less.
- You wish to receive palliative care for comfort, not treatments aimed at a cure.
You may stop hospice and palliative care at any time. You can always return to hospice care if you meet the eligibility guidelines. Individuals who exceed the life expectancy can receive hospice services beyond six months. There is no penalty for these extended benefits. At certain intervals, a hospice physician will need to re-certify that the prognosis remains six months or less.
Who Pays for Palliative Care?
Medicare Part B and Medicaid cover some types of palliative care, but you might have co-pays for some treatments and medications that are not covered. The same holds true for private plans, which typically cover palliative care, but each member’s plan may be different.
Typical palliative care solutions are:
- Symptom management
- Pain management
- Help to navigate treatment options
- Advance care planning
- Comfort measures that support quality of life and referrals to community resources