The Difference Between Palliative and Hospice Care

Palliative Care programs offer pain and symptom management to patients who are no longer receiving cancer treatment. They provide specialized, highly coordinated medical care that improves quality of life while your physicians work to cure or manage your condition. Patients receiving palliative care are not necessarily considered to be beyond curing while hospice patients are regarded as having six months or less to live if their disease follows it's normal course. In palliative care, insurance covers the majority of expenses, in hospice care there are gaps in insurance coverage.

Hospice Care is similar to palliative care, but there are important differences. Because more than ninty percent of hospice care is paid for through the Medicare hospice benefit, hospice patients must meet Medicare's eligibility requirements, while palliative care patients do not. While the objective of both hospice and palliative care is pain and symptom relief, the prognosis and goals of care tend to be different. Hospice is comfort care without curative intent; the patient no longer has curative options or has chosen not to pursue treatment because the side effects outweigh the benefits. Palliative care is comfort care with or without curative intent.

Hospice care is for patients and families facing serious, life-limiting illnesses, providing pain management, comfort and peace at the most difficult time in a family's life. Hospice costs that are reimbursed by Medicare, Medicaid and other insurance companies include a team consisting of a doctor, nurse, social worker, cna, chaplain and a volunteer. The volunteer may help with house keeping chores such as washing dishes, cleaning, vacuuming floors and similar tasks. The cna helps with non medical chores that are more centered on hygiene, such as helping patients shower, shampoo hair, toileting, help with makeup, etc. Also included with hospice services that are reimbursed directly by insurance, are durable medical equipment, pain medicine and personal hygiene and care supplies.

Non-reimbursed services which JourneyCare Midwest provide (as a not for profit hospice corporation), are centered on the comfort and care of patients and their families whether or not they can afford to pay for these non reimbursed services. These services are funded by contributions and include such things as:

  • Bereavement and grief support
  • Camp Care for youth
  • Integrated therapies
    • Music Therapy
    • Music
    • Pet
    • Aroma
    • Art
    • Massage
  • Religion based Care Services
  • Veterans programs
  • A Comfort and Joy program that supports patients and their families. This may consist of special non-medical needs and fulfill a variety of desires during this difficult and vulnerable time. Some services additionally provided are:
    • Assistance with cremation or funeral costs
    • Purchase clothes for memorial
    • Purchase special chairs or equipment for children
    • Aided with keeping electric or gas services on during winter months
    • Transportation services for special needs patients

Andrea and her family received more then just those additional services from JourneyCare Midwest Hospice. They received love, respect and comfort enabling Andrea to be at peace in her final days, surrounded by her loving family and friends.

Andrea's Hope Foundation's website is not meant to take the place of a healthcare provider's examination, diagnosis, prognosis, or treatment referrals, but rather to encourage women to be aware of their health status and to seek medical care from their physicians and healthcare institutions. Andrea's Hope Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to raising and providing funds for ovarian cancer research and education and for making hospice and other end-of-life care more affordable.