Palliative or Hospice Care?

Print Friendly

What is the difference between palliative home care and hospice care?

Palliative Care

Palliative care is also called supportive care. It is the treatment of pain and symptoms and it is an important part of hospice care. It is how we deal with nausea, shortness of breath, insomnia, anxiety and other troublesome symptoms that come with your disease or the treatments you are receiving. It focuses on maintaining quality of life through every stage of disease.

Palliative care is available before there is a need for hospice. Experts realized that people who receive specialized treatment for pain and other symptoms do so much better. By bringing the same team approach that is used in hospice, but BEFORE hospice is needed, people do better. They feel better, they are able to stay at home longer, they avoid repeated trips to the hospital and they actually live longer.

Palliative care does not replace your doctors or the treatments that you are already doing. It is an extra layer of care to help you and your family cope better. A registered nurse works with you to coordinate all of your care and make sure you have access to doctors, nurses, home health aides, social workers, chaplains, physical therapists, art/music therapists, volunteers and more. Most care is provided right in your home and you get to choose the options that you want and that work for you.

Many hospitals across the country are developing palliative care programs because they see the results. For the past ten years, Kansas City Hospice & Palliative Care has been a leader in the field. We provide palliative care at home with supportive care teams that work to support you and your family through serious illness.

When you are dealing with a serious illness, ask about the possibility of receiving palliative care at home. If hospice is needed at a later date, you may transition without having to go to another provider.

Hospice Care

Hospice care has the same team approach, but is offered when the focus shifts away from treatment to comfort and support. Hospice generally begins when life expectancy is in months rather than years. Hospice allows you to choose where you want to spend the last months of your life and how you want to be treated during this time.

Your hospice team will work with you and your family to understand what is most important to you and to honor your wishes. Hospice is offered at home, in assisted living, or in a long-term care facility. If you need more intense care, you may go to the Kansas City Hospice House™ or NorthCare Hospice House, where our staff provides care around the clock and your family is relieved of the stresses of caregiving.

Similarities

  • Expert management of symptoms like pain, nausea, shortness of breath, insomnia and anxiety
  • Available to people of every age, from babies and children to adults
  • Team approach to care that gives you more knowledge and expertise
  • Emotional and spiritual support for you and your family
  • Volunteers to help with things that are not covered by insurance, like companionship, time off for caregivers, errands, pet care and more
  • Care that comes to you where you live
  • Your choice in what care you want to receive and a promise to honor your wishes
  • You can change your mind at any time

Differences

  • Palliative care is available at any stage of illness while hospice is available when life expectancy is about six months
  • Your own doctor supervises palliative care while you can choose your own or one of our doctors in hospice
  • You may receive aggressive treatments and seek a cure in palliative care while hospice care focuses on comfort and symptom management

We’re here to answer you questions. Call to schedule an informational visit 816.363.2600 or contact us online.