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Hospice vs Palliative Care: What’s the Difference?

Hospice vs Palliative Care

Both palliative and hospice care are essential to a loved one who may be suffering from an illness. However, it can be difficult to assess their differences. End-of-life care can be a challenging time for families. Questions can swirl around about what kind of care is appropriate, how much is covered by insurance, and where to go to receive the care needed. Below, we answer some of the most common questions regarding hospice vs palliative care, to better assist you in understanding the difficult decisions that must be made.

If you have questions about the process,
call us at (702) 509-5276 or contact us online.

How does the patient’s condition determine the service provided?

Typically, palliative care begins with the original diagnosis and can be administered even while the patient is receiving treatment. Palliative care can be administered regardless of whether the patient is terminally ill. A key aspect of palliative care is that it focuses on the patient’s symptoms and general medical care, to improve the patient’s overall quality of life. There is no time frame for a patient’s remaining lifespan to receive palliative care.

Hospice care, on the other hand, is administered once a patient has entered their final six months of life. Hospice is used when a patient is battling a terminal illness. Depending on the state you live in, one or possibly two doctors will need to prescribe hospice care as the next step in treating the patient.

It is important to note that not all palliative care is a form of hospice care. However, all hospice care is a form of palliative care.


What is covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and Private Insurance?

Both Medicare and Medicaid will cover hospice care in full. This is typically insurance granted to those over the age of 65. While all Medicare and Medicaid health insurance will cover hospice care for the remaining six months of the patient’s life, some versions of the plans will cover hospice care for the remaining one year of life.

Palliative care coverage can be a bit more tricky and may require certain conditions to be met before palliative care is covered by insurance. In particular, Medicare Part B has limited palliative care benefits.

Depending on the private insurance company and the benefits, most often hospice will be covered, and palliative care will be covered if conditions are met.

What organizations provide these services and where can they be provided?

Many organizations provide hospice, palliative care, or both. They can be for-profit, non-profit, or government agencies. Most states have several offerings for hospice and palliative care so it can be overwhelming finding the best provider for your loved one.

It is important to remember that most hospice care takes place in the home. While a hospice treatment facility may not be conveniently located, they may service the area in which the patient lives. Hospice care is not full-time care and most often the assistance of family members is needed. The amount of care received though is quite flexible, and many care centers will often work around the family’s schedule to administer care.

It can be a difficult and overwhelming diagnosis to face when a doctor prescribes palliative or hospice care for the next step in the patient’s treatment. It is always a good idea to talk with the patient’s doctor or local hospital to find a compassionate palliative care or hospice care provider that best suits the needs of your family member. Many nursing homes, hospitals, and assisted living centers will also have suggestions for the best possible care in the area.

If you have any additional questions concerning hospice vs palliative care, contact Omni Care Hospice today at (702) 509-5276.

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