Difference between Palliative Care & Hospice

Palliative Care

  • Focuses on relief from physical suffering caused by a chronic/terminal illness.
  • Address the patients physical, mental, social, and spiritual well-being, regardless of life expectancy or prognosis.
  • Uses life-prolonging medications.
  • Uses a multi-disciplinary approach, with highly trained professionals, in an office setting.

Hospice Care

  • Focuses of caring for the terminally ill with a 6 month or less life expectancy.
  • Makes the patient comfortable and prepares the patient and their families for the patients end of life.
  • Does NOT use life-prolonging medications.
  • Relies on family caregivers and hospice nurse to care for the patient in their home or nursing home.

Who needs Palliative Care?

Palliative Care is a resource for anyone living with a serious illness such as heart failure, COPD, cancer, dementia, Parkinson’s Disease, ALS, CHF, Stroke, Alzheimer’s Disease, and many other illnesses. Palliative Care can be helpful at any stage of illness.

What are the benefits of Palliative Care?
Palliative care does not replace current medical treatment. Palliative care is a specialty consultative service that works to add an extra layer of support with your primary care physician.

Does my insurance cover Palliative Care?
Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurances include Palliative care as a covered service. Each payer is different and specific Palliative Care coverage will be outlined within the insured member’s benefits.

Does Palliative Care mean I am dying?
No. Palliative Care can include end of life care; however, it is much broader and can last longer. The goal is to improve comfort and quality of life while keeping the patient on course with their health care goals.

Can I refer myself for Palliative Care or does my doctor have to?
Palliative Care referrals need to be made by a patient’s medical provider. The referral can come from their Primary Care Physician or any Specialist treating the patient for their chronic/terminal illness. However, if this is a service the patient is interested in, they can call, and we will be glad to work with their physician to have the referral completed.

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Omar Khan, MD

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