This month we celebrate National Hospice and Palliative Care Month. Our focus is to bring some of the common misconceptions and unknown facts to light.
Is Hospice and Palliative Care the Same?
While these two types of care can be similar in many ways, they are also quite different.
Palliative care is actually a fairly new type of caregiving in the healthcare world that addresses comfort and quality of life.
Hospice care deals specifically with end of life care and keeping your loved one comfortable as their body naturally progresses towards the end of life and the many decisions involved.
Hospice Facts & Information
According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization there are 4 basic types of hospice care:
- Standard/Routine Hospice Home Care – This is the most common type of hospice care, as approximately 94% of all hospice care is provided via standard in home caregivers. This type of care focuses on patient comfort as they approach the end of life. The patient is provided hospice care in the comfort of their own home during particular time periods that are most beneficial to the patient and their family. Caregivers are specially trained in dealing with end of life decisions and comfort care; while skilled nursing may sometimes be involved intermittently if needed.
- Continuous Hospice Home Care – This type of care occurs at the final stages life and is generally only provided if the person needs the assistance of a licensed nurse. Because skilled nursing staff can be used intermittently with standard routine home hospice care it is usually more cost effective to forego continuous hospice care at home. Only about 1% of hospice care is provided continuously at home.
- Inpatient Hospice Care – Care is provided in an inpatient facility to control pain and comfort. This type of care is usually provided when care in the home and/or a full care facility is not the best option. Generally speaking, this type of care occurs in a hospital or a specialized unit for hospice situations. According to the NHPCO approximately 5% of hospice care is in-patient hospice care.
- In-Patient Respite Hospice Care –It is provided in an approved facility for a short-term only. While this is the least common type of hospice care provided, the focus is on allowing the constant caregiver (such as a spouse or family member) a break from providing care. Less than 1% of all hospice care occurs via in-patient respite care.
Some key figures about hospice care:
- The number of hospice care recipients has steadily risen each year for the past 7 years
- The length of care (LOC) for hospice patients has decreased slightly from 18.5 days in 2013 to 17.1 days in 2014
- Female hospice care patients outnumber male hospice care patients slightly more (approx. 54% female vs. approx. 46% male)
- Those aged 85+ represent the highest amount of hospice care, 41%; with those aged 75-84 representing the second highest amount at 26% of all hospice care recipients.
Palliative Care Facts & Information
What makes palliative care stand out differently than hospice care and/or common caregiving is:
- Palliative care is usually a “team” effort that includes not only the caregivers but the family and a “team” of healthcare professionals.
- Part of the palliative care process not only includes comfort care but often also includes curative care and/or life-prolonging care for the patient.
- Even if the patient has a life threatening illness the focus is on dignity, comfort and peacefulness through the entire time of care.
- Palliative care can sometimes reach a point of hospice care if the person has reached the final stages of life.
- Palliative care focuses on quality of life with less focus on the end of life. End of life care is what hospice care is about.
- It is not uncommon to utilize non-profit organizations as part of the palliative care team. An example of this would be the National MS Society, who can assist you with resources & local chapters. The American Lung Association for those with COPD or other and breathing problems.
Palliative Care Statistics
- As the world of medicine saw that many people didn’t fall into a typical category of care and were sometimes put into hospice care (which didn’t fit) the term palliative care came about. It is a less daunting term for those who aren’t facing end of life decisions and want to focus on quality of life & comfort from the often life changing pain.
- This article from Medline Plus offers some excellent insight and answers about palliative care.
Let Accredited Care Assist Your Hospice and Palliative Care Needs
Because the Accredited Care team can provide a multitude of in home services, we are able to serve most of your in-home health care needs in one place. Our skilled nursing can be combined with in-home caregiving to help with both hospice and palliative care.
“NHPCO’s Facts & Figures – Hospice Care in America” – Booklet by NHPCO, September 2015, NHPCO Website
Photo by myfuture.com