Palliative care is frequently confused with hospice care. While a palliative care consultation may lead to patients opting for hospice, the offerings and limits of hospice are vastly different from those of palliative care. Let's define hospice and palliative care to better grasp the differences:
Hospice is a specific medical benefit available to people who have a terminal illness and choose to focus on comfort rather than diagnostic and curative therapy. It is a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week service in which medical personnel come to your house as needed and supply the equipment and medications necessary for your family or caretaker to keep you comfortable.
Palliative care is a type of medical care that is provided to persons who are suffering from a terrible illness. This sort of treatment focuses on alleviating the illness's symptoms and stress. The goal is to improve the patient's and family's quality of life while treating the disease as effectively as possible.
While the two have similar goals – pain and symptom reduction – their goals and prognoses are not the same. Palliative care is based on the patient's needs rather than their prognosis. Palliative care can be given at any age and at any stage of a serious illness, and it can be given while someone is still receiving curative treatment – palliative care does not imply a lack of effort to properly treat disease. Hospice is a type of comfort care that isn't intended to be curative. Patients in hospice choose not to have any additional diagnostic procedures or therapies aimed at curing their ailment.
Hospice services are covered if you have Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B) or a Medicare Advantage plan. If your doctor determines it's medically necessary, you might be reimbursed for palliative care if you have Original Medicare.
Palliative care teams concentrate on symptom management as a whole, with the goal of increasing quality of life. They help people with cancer, congestive heart failure (CHF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), renal disease, and neurological diseases including Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, dementia, or ALS, as well as their symptoms and stress. Patients with serious illnesses who receive palliative care live longer than those who do not.
Medicare is covered only by home health care services prescribed by a physician and delivered by qualified nurses, although patients must meet strict eligibility criteria.
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