Palliative care and hospice care - holding hands

Evaluating Palliative Care And Hospice Facilities

By: Tom Harries

Feb 13, 2022 | End-of-life Logistics

4 min read

Palliative care and hospice care are two very valuable services, which can make a huge positive impact on an individual and their loved ones at a difficult time. Choosing the right option and provider is therefore very important.

This article looks at the differences and similarities between the two forms of care, including who is eligible and when. It also looks at the benefits of both options, and explains how to evaluate providers and facilities.

What Is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is medical care focused on quality of life and comfort for patients with serious illnesses. Treatment can still be given with the intention of curing illness.

Palliative care usually takes place within a hospital setting and treatment tends to be direct and sometimes intensive. Someone might need palliative care because of long-term illness, severe injury or other serious medical needs.

What Is Required To Qualify For Palliative Care?

This form of care is appropriate for those suffering long-term illness, those who have sustained severe injuries, and those with other very serious medical needs. 

A person can apply to receive palliative care at any stage of their illness or injury. 

Stages Of Palliative Care

The stages of care vary from patient to patient. The objective is to match the treatment plan to the goals the patient is looking to achieve.

Palliative care staff will work with the primary care physician (or other medical providers) that have been treating the patient to this stage. This allows for a more holistic approach to the healing and care plan.

What Is Hospice Care?

Hospice care is direct medical care that is focused specifically on end-of-life care. Like palliative care, the focus is quality of life and the goal is to ensure the patient is as comfortable as possible. Unlike most palliative care, hospice treatment is not given with the intention of curing illness.

Hospice care usually takes place in a hospice facility or in a home setting. Both of these options are common.

What Is Required For Hospice Facility Admission

In order to qualify for hospice, someone must be diagnosed with a life-threatening condition and be given less than six months to live. As with palliative care, patients will have an illness, catastrophic injury or other serious medical need.

Difference Between Palliative And Hospice Care Facilities

One of the key differences to note when deciding on the suitability of palliative care vs hospice care is the facilities. Palliative care usually takes place in a hospital setting, unlike hospice care which takes place in a dedicated hospice facility or in a patient’s home. This is in line with the fact that palliative care aims to cure, whereas hospice care does not.

What To Look For In A Palliative Care Provider

Because palliative care usually takes place in a hospital setting, patients may have less control over who their care professional is than they would over which hospice facility to use.

Finding palliative care providers

A good palliative care doctor will listen to their patients and will honor their care desires. In addition care providers should be open and transparent about the options that are available to the patient for their care.

How To Evaluate A Hospice Care Facility

When choosing a hospice care facility, an individual and their loved ones should read online reviews and speak to people they know for recommendations.

Two important factors are cost and location. Among cost considerations are payment methods, as well as the actual pricing. It is worth noting that most hospice is paid for by the government. Picking a provider that has a facility near to family and friends is a good idea, although most hospice care is provided in a patient’s home. If care is at home, it is worth confirming how quickly and easily the provider’s professionals can get to the home.

There are a variety of end-of-life care types. When making a decision about a provider, it is important to look at the types they are certified for and to check that this matches the patient’s preferences.

Questions To Ask Care Providers

In making a decision about care provision, it is helpful to ask prospective providers some questions. While exact questions will vary based on the individual situation, the following are a good starting point:

  • How often do they provide care throughout the day/week/etc? 
  • What certifications do they hold for varying types of end-of-life care?
  • How does their payment structure look? 
  • What sets them apart from other providers?

How To Plan For Palliative Or Hospice Care

The first step for an individual and their family is to undertake appropriate research. It is important to ensure the palliative or hospice care is the level needed and desired.

If a loved one will be staying at home, the home might need certain preparations to make it suitable for the chosen care. Possible examples include making space for a hospital bed and moving any obstacles for medical staff.

If a loved one will be moving to a hospice or palliative care facility, it might be suitable to prepare  a suitcase of clothing and important belongings as well as to gather important documents relevant to care and end-of-life needs.

If appropriate, this might be the right time to start pre-planning for funeral arrangements or establishing a power of attorney.

Explore

At Earth, we provide soil transformation services, an environmentally-friendly alternative to cremation and burial.

Soil transformation, also known as natural organic reduction or human composting, involves the gentle transformation of a body into nutrient-rich soil. Families choose how much soil they’d like returned — to scatter or plant — with the remainder sent to local conservation sites for land restoration purposes.

We have a number of articles on our website about end-of-life planning. To read articles about funeral arrangements, care options and estate administration, visit our resources page here.

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