What is the difference between palliative and hospice care?
More often than that a lot of people interchange palliative care to that of hospice care or vice versa; there are those who believe that one is just synonymous with the other. The answer is that these two things are quite different. Although, the care philosophy, which serves as the foundation of these two types of care, promotes ultimate patient comfort. Palliative care, in the simplest of terms, is the holistic care rendered to a person who is suffering from a chronic condition. Such a condition may limit the person from meeting his or her daily care needs. On the other hand, hospice care is rendered to a person who is given a prognosis of imminent death in a span of 6 months or less.
When should I make the decision to bring my loved one to a hospice care?
When your loved one is already diagnosed with the terminal illness, the patient, the family, and primary care providers should discuss all possible care options the patient can benefit from. This includes palliative and hospice care for that matter. Most of the time, physicians do make suggestions or a referral so that the patient can be transferred to a hospice service. Ultimately, within legal bounds, the patient has the final say whether he or she wants to be transferred to a hospice or palliative care services.
Are all facilities offering hospice care one and the same?
No. Not all of the facilities offering hospice care which are present in your community provide you with the same level of service. Although you can expect a basic level of care, yet the quality of the services being rendered and the number of services available greatly varies. It is in this aspect that you need the help of your primary care physician, friends, or other healthcare professionals’ suggestions regarding what facility should you tap. To get a good insight about the quality of services that the facility is providing, you should not hesitate to ask questions about our services.
How does hospice care begin?
Usually, the doctor will make the necessary referral or a formal request to a facility that offers hospice care in order that the hospice care can commence. This happens when the doctor believes that the patient has a nil chance of surviving his or her terminal illness. Typically, a representative from the hospice facility will pay the patient and his family a visit within the next 48 hours after the referral has been made. After the discussion between the hospice representative, the patient and family, and the primary care doctor, hospice care can begin the following day. If for instance, the present condition of the patient calls for urgency, then hospice services may begin as soon as possible.
How are the services rendered?
Most facilities offering hospice care depend upon an interdisciplinary team. This means that the patient can tap the registered nurses, social workers, health aides, and religious figures for whatever needs he or she may have. Upon referral, the interdisciplinary team will begin with the assessment and crafting of an individualized care plan. The care plan will outline all the needs of the patient and also the possible care services which should be rendered to meet such needs. The frequency of the visit of the interdisciplinary team is based on the care plan. However, the frequency can be changed depending on the request of the family in the course of the illness. Please do note that the number of patients the interdisciplinary team may serve will vary depending on the travel requirements, specific care requirements, care coordination, and other related factors.