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Is palliative care right for me?
Palliative care and hospice care are often confused with one another. Both have the goal to relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life for people with chronic medical conditions. However, what that care includes and who qualifies for it are quite different.
Palliative care is intended to be used by anyone who has a serious illness, whether or not they are at the end of life. Someone who receives palliative care can choose to pursue curative treatments for their condition; for example, undergoing chemotherapy for cancer.
Hospice care, on the other hand, is intended for people who have a terminal condition. They decide to forego further curative treatment options and instead focus on comfort care.
Understanding the difference between palliative care and hospice is important because it affects the care you receive and also determines how insurance will pay for it. This article reviews palliative care and hospice care, conditions treated, goals, eligibility, care providers, insurance coverage, the length of benefits, and how to choose.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than half of Americans have a chronic medical condition that could increase their risk for health complications, impair their quality of life, and in some cases, lead to an earlier death than expected.1
Palliative care is a medical specialty aimed to decrease the physical, emotional, and psychosocial (involving both psychological and social factors) burden you and your family could experience as you live with and manage these conditions.
You can arrange for palliative care as soon as you are diagnosed with a serious illness. Treatment plans will evolve over the course to meet your needs, ranging from symptom management to end-of-life care as the disease progresses.