5 Differences Between Hospice and Palliative Care - Florida Senior Consulting


Florida Senior Consulting

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Feb 21, 2023


Florida - Sarasota, Bradenton & Charlotte Counties , Florida - Southwest

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5 Differences Between Hospice and Palliative Care

Introduction to Hospice Care and Palliative Care

You have probably heard of hospice care and palliative care before. However, many people do not know exactly what these terms mean or the difference between them. 

Hospice care and palliative care are types of comfort care for people facing serious illnesses. The purpose of both hospice care and palliative care is to make the patient more comfortable by offering pain management and symptom relief.

Read on to learn more about hospice and palliative care, as well as the similarities and differences between them.

What is hospice care?

What is hospice care?

Hospice is compassionate comfort care for people with a terminal illness approaching the end of life. Patients must have a life expectancy of six months or fewer to receive Hospice care. However, in Florida, some private pay insurance companies allow for a life expectancy of up to one year

Hospice care is designed for people with illnesses that are not curable, or who do not want to undergo any further treatments. Instead, they wish to spend their remaining time in the comfort of their own home surrounded by their loving family. With hospice, they can receive end-of-life care to make their final days, weeks, or months of life more comfortable and pain-free. 

Hospice services can include home care, in-patient hospice care, spiritual services, family meetings, care coordination, respite care, and bereavement care.

Hospice identifies as being family-centered and focuses on the grieving family just as much as the patient.

Florida has the second highest number of hospice patients in the US, behind California. In 2018, there were over 130,000 hospice admissions in Florida. 

What is palliative care?

Like hospice, palliative care is also compassionate comfort care for people with serious illnesses like cancer or heart failure. Palliative care provides pain and symptom management services for the patient. This type of care also aims to relieve stress and improve the quality of life of the patient and their family. Other parts of palliative care can include informing patients of their treatment options, assisting with necessary legal documents such as advance directives, offering spiritual services and more.

Palliative care can be provided at any stage of an illness, including at diagnosis, during treatments, and at the end of life.

According to the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC), this type of care has been shown to not only improve the quality of life of patients with serious illnesses, but also reduce caregiver burden and avoidable utilization.

Additionally, the Florida Palliative Care Coalition (FPCC) states that palliative care is one of the most impactful methods of improving the quality of care for patients with serious illnesses.

What is the Difference Between Hospice Care and Palliative Care?

While similar in nature, there are several differences between hospice care and palliative care:

  1. Intent of care

One of the main differences between hospice and palliative care is the intent or goal of the care. Hospice care does not have curative intent, or the goal of curing the illness. Instead, it is provided to patients with incurable illnesses or who decline further treatments. 

Conversely, palliative care can be provided with or without curative intent. Patients may receive palliative care in conjunction with attempted treatments for their illnesses.

  1. Eligibility for Hospice and Palliative Care

To be eligible for hospice care, two physicians must certify that the patient has six months or fewer to live if the disease runs its natural course.

On the other hand, palliative care services can begin at any time or stage of the illness based on the physician’s or patient’s discretion. A patient’s condition does not have to be terminal for them to receive palliative care.

  1. How to pay for Hospice and Palliative Care

Hospice care costs can be paid 100% by Medicare, Medicaid, and/or private insurance. In fact, hospice is the only Medicare benefit that covers pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, full-time care access, nursing, social services, grief support, chaplain visits, and more. 

Palliative care is frequently paid for by private insurance, though Medicare may cover some of the services depending on your benefits and treatment plan. Palliative care costs can include prescriptions, medical visits and many other services. 

  1. Where Hospice Care and Palliative Care are delivered

Hospice care is provided where the patient lives. According to the Florida Hospice and Palliative Care Association, 80% of hospice care takes place in the patient’s home. It can also be provided in nursing homes, assisted living communities, or other long-term care facilities.

While palliative care can also be delivered in home settings, it is often provided in a hospital or outpatient clinic setting.

  1. Who provides Hospice Care and Palliative Care

Hospice care is usually provided by a team consisting of home health aides, nurses, clergy, hospice physicians, social workers, specialized therapists, and even volunteers.

Palliative care is different. Since it is often planned and provided concurrently with specific treatments, it is usually delivered by a team of specially-trained physicians, nurses, the patient’s primary doctor, and other specialists.

Why are Hospice Care and Palliative Care important?

It is valuable for older adults to understand hospice and palliative care so they can make informed decisions about their end-of-life wishes. For example, people should express to their family members and doctors in advance if they would want to pursue life-extending treatments if the situation arises. Older adults should also communicate their preferred setting to receive end-of-life care if the time comes, whether that be at home, in a hospital, or in a long-term care setting. 

Even if these services never end up being necessary for you, it is best to be prepared to ensure your wishes are carried out.

How to Find Hospice Care or Palliative Care

Finding the best hospice or palliative care for a loved one can be overwhelming, especially when you already have a lot on your plate. Let us help. 

Florida Senior Consulting is connected with the best professionals in Florida. We can help set you up with the providers you need to get the best care for your loved one. 

From securing home health care providers to personally coordinating medical appointments and everything in between, we will take on your loved one’s case and treat them as if they were our own family.

We’ll help you spend more time with your senior loved one and less time worrying about them.

We believe senior care should be on your terms, and the choice should always be yours. 

Visit our website FloridaSeniorConsulting.com or call (941) 661-6196 to for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation. We have your best interest at heart and can’t wait to get started.

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