Introduction to Palliative and Hospice Care
Palliative care, also known as end-of-life, or comfort care, is a specialized form of health care for patients who have life-threatening illness.
It can be provided at the same time as treatments meant to treat or cure the disease.
The goal of Palliative care is to enhance patients’ quality of life in a wholistic manner. Symptoms such as pain, nausea, loss of appetite and confusion are prevented if possible, and treated with close attention.
In addition, the emotional and spiritual needs of the patients and their families are supported. Palliative care prioritizes patient dignity and respects the social and cultural needs of the patients and families, which often includes help with advance planning and coordination of care among the caregivers involved (which may include volunteers, social workers and spiritual leaders in addition to medical staff).
Palliative care may be appropriate when the illness is diagnosed, throughout treatment, during follow-up, and at the end of life.
Hospice is a form of palliative care which is usually offered only when the patient is expected to live 6 months or less.
Hospice care can be arranged in a patient’s home or in inpatient hospice units.
Hospice care is appropriate when the patient, loved ones and the doctor decide together that the patient can no longer be helped by curative treatment.
The philosophy of hospice is to affirm life, and neither hasten nor postpone death. The care focuses solely on supporting comfort and quality of life at the final stage of life. In essence, Hospice helps patients live out their remaining days to the fullest and to die on their own terms.
Have you had an experience dealing with Palliative or Hospice care? Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts.
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