If you have a serious illness, then your physician may inform you that it is time to start thinking of your palliative care or hospice options. In this scenario, you may be confused about the differences between the two types of care. There are a few main differences, so keep reading to learn what they are in relation to hospice care.
Hospice Has A Six Month Requirement
If your physician suggests hospice care, then this likely means that you meet the six-month requirement for the care. This requirement is that you will have six months or less to live and will be receiving care within this time frame. However, it does not necessarily mean that you only have six months to live. This is a general estimate that your doctor makes if your disease were to progress as it normally would.
If you do enter hospice, it does not mean that you cannot leave hospice. Your prognosis may improve substantially, and you can discontinue the services. This can happen if you decide to start a different treatment regimen or if a new medication becomes available. For this reason, hospice care does not focus on death or dying but on quality of life in accordance with your specific wishes.
Some people may continue to receive hospice for well over six months. If so, then your doctor will need to certify that they believe that you continue to meet the six-month hospice requirement.
Hospice Care Focuses On Symptom Relief
Palliative care is different from hospice care in the way that treatment is often continued. However, the overall medical focus is not on curing the disease but on managing symptoms. With palliative care, there may still be hope for a longer life and a well-controlled ailment through continued treatment methods. This is not the case with hospice care. With hospice, you are no longer treating the disease, but trying to control symptoms in an attempt to live the best life possible with a devastating disease.
Hospice will focus primarily on comfort as well as spiritual and mental health. You can continue to see medical professionals, and these individuals may prescribe different pain medications as well as ones that can control your nausea and appetite issues. In addition to seeing your doctor, you will likely see social workers and spiritual advisors. These individuals are meant to help you and your family through the end of life process.
If you want to know more about hospice care, speak with your physician.