Palliative Care

Patient care after something traumatic, or while enduring an illness, can be confusing to most people. The majority of people don’t have to think about patient care until it immediately affects them.

On the surface layer, palliative care and hospice care can seem like the same, almost interchangeable. Like most things in the medical field, it’s more complicated than simple answers. 

Here’s an explanation.

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is a patient care plan that starts the instant a patient begins recovery.  This style of care aims to provide ease of symptoms of illness or injury and take the stress off family members who are thrust into helping care for an unwell family member.

This holistic approach aims to improve the quality of life for all involved in the patient’s immediate life by taking medical stress away.

The most significant reason for patients to need palliative care is chronic diseases.  Palliative care’s style, of taking care of both the body and mind, helps these patients live with their symptoms. 

With accidents, there are times when palliative care can aid in the recovery and healing of an illness or injury.  This line is where it stands apart from hospice care, aiming more towards end-of-life care than trying to recover or ‘fix’ the symptoms.

What is Hospice Care?

Hospice care aims at easing the pain and symptoms of illness or injury in a patient’s life.  This care is considered the end of life care, to make sure that the patients can live as comfortably as they possibly can for the rest of their life. 

Needing this care doesn’t mean the patient’s family, or the patient, gave up on living– just that the patient’s current quality of life won’t improve much.

This care helps patients for everything, from car accidents to long term illnesses like Huntington’s or HIV. 

The main goal is to comfort the patient.

How Do They Compare?

The easy answer for this is that they’re usually combined. Hospice care often uses palliative care as a method to comfort and ease the patient’s symptoms. Although hospice care is an overarching type of care, palliative aids it.

Palliative care by itself is a style of treating the mind and body that, when paired with hospice care, is no longer about healing but instead about ensuring the patient can keep up their current condition.

What Do They Do Together?

Together, these care types are powerful.  Patients benefit from services like knowing a professional will help with physical therapy, as well as having help administering medications.

Palliative care helps hospice care be the care that patients need, while hospice care makes sure the end of their life is comfortable.

There’s no better, or worse, way to care between these two. Instead, their differences lay in what they aim to do, and the context in which they’re used.

Palliative care can be done on its own, but hospice care is made a thousand times better by the patience and mental health offered through palliative care.