November is National Hospice Palliative Care Month

National Hospice and Palliative Care Month 2019

Each year during the month of November, we acknowledge National Hospice and Palliative Care month as a way to help spread awareness and education about hospice and palliative care.  Often times there is confusion about the difference between hospice care and palliative care, below are some facts to help you better understand these types of care.

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative Care is a holistic model of care that is focused on providing individuals with relief from symptoms, pain and stress associated with serious illness, no matter what the disease is. 

Who can benefit from palliative care?

Anyone living with a serious illness such as heart disease, pulmonary disease, cancer, dementia, Parkinson’s disease and many other chronic diseases.  Your provider, can help you determine if you qualify for palliative care.

Who is part of the palliative care team?

Palliative care team members often include social workers, nutritionist, pharmacist, doctors or nurse practitioners and nurses.

Can I still receive my medical treatments while receiving palliative care?

Yes!  Palliative care is meant to help keep individuals comfortable and can begin at any stage of their disease.  It can be provided along with other treatments.

What types of services can palliative care provide?

  • Expertise in pain and symptom management
  • Facilitating conversations about an individual’s goal for healthcare
  • Guidance with difficult treatment choices while incorporating individual, family and cultural values and beliefs.
  • Help navigating the healthcare system
  • Emotional and spiritual support for individuals and their family

Now let’s talk hospice….

What is hospice?

Hospice is similar to palliative care in that it provides a comprehensive and holistic model of care that focuses on providing individuals relief from their symptoms and pain.  However, hospice is meant for those individuals who are no longer seeking treatment for their illness.  An individual entering hospice understands that attempts to cure their illness are stopped and that their plan of care changes to keeping them comfortable.

Who can benefit from hospice care?

Hospice is for any individual with a terminal illness whose medical provider believes they have 6 months or less to live if the illness runs its natural course.

Who is part of the hospice care team?

Hospice care team members include nurses, doctors, nurse practitioners, social workers, spiritual advisors and sometimes trained volunteers.  The team works with the individual who is ill as well as their caregiver and family members to help meet all of their medical, emotional and spiritual needs.

Can I still receive medical treatments while receiving hospice care?

No, when you are under hospice care an individual only receives relief from symptoms.

What types of services can hospice care provide?

  • Nursing care as well as home health aide and homemaker services
  • Medical equipment and supplies as needed for the individual and caregiver
  • Medications to help control an individual’s pain and other symptoms
  • Social work services and nutritional counseling
  • Emotional and spiritual counseling to help the individual and family at this difficult time
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