Palliative care services can offer tremendous benefits to patients facing a potentially life threatening illness, as well as their families. The focus of palliative care is to improve quality of daily living by providing symptom relief and management and treatment for stress and psychosocial issues. Palliative care can provide families with peace of mind and acceptance during the struggle in coming to terms with the diagnosis of a severe illness.

How Does Palliative Care Differ From Hospice Care?

It is often thought that palliative care and hospice care are the same thing, and although they do certainly have some similarities, they are different services. The main difference between the two is when the type of care is provided.

Palliative Care

Palliative care services are available at any time for individuals with a serious illness. No matter what stage the illness is at, palliative care services can be delivered in the comfort of home. The services are not dependent on a particular prognosis or life expectancy. They are meant to provide a system of support to patients and their families, and the intention is neither to accelerate nor postpone the likelihood of death.

Hospice Care

Hospice care services on the other hand are only available at the end of life when a terminal illness has been diagnosed. Hospice care is provided when patients are no longer responsive to treatment. It is generally at this time that a patient may decide to cease treatment and make the switch to hospice care, also known as end of life care.

Benefits of Palliative Care Services

There is a wide range of advantages for patients and family members when enlisting palliative care services from a professional home care agency. Support and assistance can be delivered in the comfort of home and scheduled as frequently as required.

Some of the benefits of palliative care services include:

  • Understanding and acceptance
  • Symptom and pain management
  • Patient first holistic approach
  • Peace of mind

Understanding And Acceptance

One of the most difficult aspects of being diagnosed with a severe illness is often the ability to come to terms with it. The more knowledge and understanding gained about the illness, the easier it generally is to deal with. Home care agencies and caregivers can provide education and support by offering information about the expected progression and course of the illness, and various treatment options that may be available.

Symptom And Pain Management

The types of diseases and illnesses that palliative care services typically apply to come with a set of symptoms that can be uncomfortable or even painful for the individual. Home caregivers can focus on alleviating symptoms to help improve the quality of daily life. This may also include minimizing unwanted side effects of medications and other forms of treatment for the illness.

Patient First Holistic Approach

Palliative care is so effective because it offers a holistic approach that considers a range of factors and elements that may be important to the patient’s life. Physical and mental effects are examined as well as spiritual needs if that is something of interest. A holistic palliative care approach includes:

  • Mind, body & spirit
  • The nature of the illness
  • Hopes, goals & desires
  • Daily living requirements
  • Social aspects
  • Decisions for treatment options

Peace Of Mind

Palliative care services can help bring peace of mind to patients and their families while combatting a serious illness. It focuses on the affirmation of life, and regards death as a normal process that everyone will experience at some point. By offering an effective support system, patients can concentrate on spending quality time with loved ones to help cope with the nature of the illness and living life the fullest.