As defined by the National Institute on Aging, palliative care is a resource for anyone living with a serious illness; such as, heart failure, cancer, dementia, and many more. Palliative care may be helpful at any stage of an illness, but is typically provided at the point prognosis (the expected outcome of the disease). Palliative care can be provided along with curative treatment (process of curing an illness) and does not depend on prognosis. Most importantly, this type of care is focused on improving quality of life, helping with symptoms, and helping individuals understand their choices for medical treatment. Palliative care consists of a multidisciplinary team, meaning team members are from different disciplines to provide a level of care. The following are examples of team members: specialty doctors and nurses, social workers, chaplains, and nutritionists. Each member serves a role in providing individuals and family members with medical, emotional, social, and mental support. Palliative care is offered in several settings: nursing homes, hospitals, outpatient palliative care clinics, or home.
Hospice is an approach to care, meaning the needs of an individual are placed as priority and can be accommodated in several settings; such as facility (nursing home) or home. Hospice care is when an illness is no longer responding to medical attempts to cure or an individual declines further medical interventions, and a level of comfort is provided to the individual. Hospice is provided to terminally ill persons who have been given six months or less to live, if the illness runs its natural course.
Palliative and Hospice Care
To briefly describe similarities, hospice and palliative care are resources to provide a level of comfort to individuals experiencing serious or terminal illnesses. Both are composed of comprehensive level of care teams who are skilled to assist those in end-of-life care. Team members consist of specialty doctors and nurses, social workers, chaplains, and nutritionists; all of which are providing individuals with the necessary support at the end-of-life. Watch the video here a hospice expert to hear some of the reasons minorities don't utilize Palliative and Hospice Care.
To locate hospice and palliative care agencies in your area, visit the links below for more information.