Many of us have been led to think of palliative care as being the same as hospice care, and it's important for seriously ill people and their families to know the difference. While both services offer tremendous care and compassionate for those who need it and both have a lot of similarities, there are distinctions worth knowing.
Palliative care is about the care of someone who is seriously ill, whether it's with cancer, MS, AIDS, brain damage, or recovery from a very serious accident or other incident.
Palliative care offers pain management, emotional support and help when it comes to medications, therapies (physical, emotional, occupational) as well as treatments like chemotherapy, redaction or further surgeries.
The point of palliative care is to offer support to those who have a chance to recover from whatever disease, accident or condition they are suffering from.
Hospice patients are generally terminal with a limited amount of time to live. Many palliative patients can and do survive and go on to live long and healthy lives, although not all will achieve this.
A palliative care team will assist with treatment/recovery techniques like using breathing apparatuses, medication administration, or activities of daily living (ADL's) that may include personal hygiene and bathing care as well as holistic approaches like massage therapies and acupuncture.
They will also work closely with family to support them as well as the patient and to ensure that quality of life is improving for all.
The website www.getpalliativecare.org has some great answers to commonly asked questions. For example, they inform us that most insurances and Medicare offer coverage. Primary care and specialist doctors work with the palliative team so there is no need to have to explain to one group what the other is doing.
Many hospitals have their own special team that includes pharmacists, all kinds of therapists, cancer treatment operators, doctors, nurses and surgeons as well as a liaison who works to support the family as well as the patient.