Many times palliative care and hospice are considered the same or are confused with each other, however, they are different and it is important to understand the difference between the two when you need to determine the best route of care for your loved one.
The main difference between the two types of care lies around prognosis. To qualify for hospice, a patient must, in most cases, have a prognosis of fewer than six months to live whereas palliative care does not have that requirement. Palliative care however does require a serious illness that has been diagnosed by a physician.
The goal of care is also a factor when determining which type of care is suitable. Patients who need to have the focus on the treatment of their illness will want to be placed in palliative care, whereas patients who need the area of focus to be on being made comfortable in the last months of their life, rather than receiving treatment for their illness will be placed in hospice.
For those who are looking for hospice care, care is usually provided outside of a hospital setting. There are hospice houses, for example, Hospice House in Prince George, which is made to feel like home. Patients are referred to as guests and each room is private with many of the amenities like home including a room that is available for overnight visitors. There are no “visiting hours”, and family can stay through all hours of the day and night with their loved ones. Family pets are even allowed to visit any time of the day or night, and there is a play area for young children who are visiting. Support is available for loved ones when including grief care.
While in hospice, the main goal is the management of pain or symptoms of the illness, and not a focus on finding a cure. There are occasions however when those who are in hospice make enough of a recovery to leave.
For palliative care, you or your loved one are not required to have a specific prognosis in order to qualify for care, but you do need to have an acute or chronic condition that is affecting your everyday quality of life. Good examples are MS, dementia, and cancer; however, this is non-exhaustive. Did you know that we provide palliative care? We do along with our many other services. You can find out more by visiting our Services page.