If you or a loved one is facing a serious illness, finding proper support is crucial to maintain quality of life. Not only do you want relief from pain, but there are also a host of emotional, physical and spiritual needs that may need to be addressed as well.

This is when caregiving options such as palliative care and hospice come into play. Both help the patient deal with ramifications of a serious illness — but what is the difference between palliative care and hospice? What does palliative care involve that hospice doesn’t, and vice versa? How do you know which type of care to retain?

To help answer these questions, here’s a look at these important types of care.

Is Palliative Care the Same as Hospice?

The simple answer is no, but they do have a lot in common. The main difference between palliative care and hospice is timing. While they both emphasize improving the patient’s quality of life, the growing field of palliative care caters to individuals at any point in their diagnosis, easing the burdens associated with an illness. Palliative care patients may still have a long life-expectancy but need more dedicated care for a period of time. For example, a person receiving palliative care could need help with insomnia or education on lifestyle changes.

Hospice, on the other hand, only comes into play specifically when a patient is at the end of life, no longer responding to medical treatment and no longer pursuing curative help. This is why hospice is also referred to as end-of-life care.

Why Would a Patient Choose Either Type?

Any patient facing a serious illness and looking for complex symptom relief and/or reduced stress can benefit from compassionate comfort care.

What Are the Goals of These Types of Care?

In palliative care, the goal is to relieve symptoms and stress as a person faces a serious illness; it can take place at diagnosis, during treatment, alongside recovery or at the end of life. In hospice care, the goal is to provide better quality of life as a person is dying.

Who Is Eligible for Hospice or Palliative Care?

To be eligible for hospice, a patient typically needs to have been diagnosed by two physicians as having less than six months to live; it is paid by Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance. Palliative care is more flexible and may be started at any stage of an illness, at the discretion of the patient and physician; it is typically paid for by insurance or through self-pay, depending on various factors.

Whether because of illness or injury, there are many times when receiving additional support from trained caregivers can be life changing. If you or someone you love is in need of senior home care services, Wellsprings Home Care offers compassionate, high-quality, non-medical support to individuals in Chester County, Montgomery County and Delaware County. From mobility assistance to live-in and overnight care, we provide aid to help patients stay in their homes, where they can be as comfortable as possible.

Reach out to us anytime, and we can come up with a plan to best fit your needs. Schedule a free consultation anytime.