A serious illness impacts not only the patient, but also those around them. Patients, who once were quite independent, may suddenly require outside assistance. Ironically, physical deterioration and pain may limit social interaction just at the time the patient most needs care and comfort. Often family members find it difficult and stressful to discuss of end-of-life care with each other and with the patient. That is where hospice and palliative care can be of benefit.
What’s the Difference Between Hospice and Palliative Care?
Palliative care relieves suffering and addresses pain management regardless of the illness, even if it is curable and not life-threatening. Hospice care is palliative care for patients with a life expectancy of six months or less.
Who Pays for Hospice Care?
Costs related to your terminal illness and related care are fully covered by Medicare if they are provided by an approved Medicare facility. Family need not be burdened with the costs of doctor and nursing care, specialty equipment, supplies, prescriptions, etc. Medicare covers grief counseling, homemaker services and respite care to make the entire family as comfortable as possible.
Life on Your Terms
With hospice care, the patient, to the extent that he is able, is in charge. The goal of hospice is to support and enable as full a life as possible. Accepting hospice care does not mean “giving up.” In fact, a study in the “Journal of Pain and Symptom Management” found that terminally ill patients with hospice care lived an average of 29 days longer than those without hospice care.
Pet Peace of Mind
Many hospice programs are expanding the services they provide to support patient’s pets as well. Cornerstone Hospice and Palliative Care, was the first hospice in the state of Florida to introduce “Pet Peace of Mind.” “Pet Peace of Mind” is a national program that enables hospice patients to keep their pets and enjoy their company during life’s last journey. The program volunteers attend to daily care, walking, grooming, and clean up so the patients and their families can focus on spending time together.
Discuss Hospice Sooner, Not Later
Although a variety of services are available through hospice at little to no cost, many families wait until the final stages of an illness to seek care. In doing so, they may actually shorten the quality time they have with their loved one.