November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month and programs across the country are reaching out to help people understand all that these services offer. The National Association of Home Care and Hospice reminds us that “this month is also the time to recognize and celebrate the millions of people — from administrators to clinicians to social workers and volunteers — who bring the best health care in the world into the homes of the most vulnerable patients in our country. They make an everlasting impact on the lives of the patients and families they serve.”
Palliative Care is often confused with Hospice. Hospice is not a place, but is high-quality care that enables patients and families to focus on living as fully as possible despite a life-limiting illness. Palliative care brings this holistic model of care to people earlier in the course of a serious illness. The main distinction is that:
- A Hospice patient has a life limiting disease with a prognosis of 6 months or less if their disease runs its expected course, and has stopped further active treatment. The goal of Hospice is to provide comfort through pain and symptom management, psychosocial and spiritual support.
- A Palliative patient has a life threatening or chronic disease, but may not have a limited life prognosis and may still choose to receive active treatment such as hospitalization, chemotherapy or other treatments as ordered by their doctor.
Palliative care may be given at the same time as treatments to cure or treat the illness and can begin following diagnosis, throughout treatment and during follow up. It often includes: medicine, physical and occupational therapies and nutritional guidance.
Palliative Care is an approach to Home Care that helps patients facing problems associated with a life threatening or chronic illness to maintain their health. It may be offered for people with illnesses, such as cancer, heart disease, lung disease, kidney failure, ALS, HIV/AIDS and Dementia, and is available in any care setting. A specific focus is placed on improving the quality of life for a patient and their family, through the prevention and relief of symptoms. It is a service that is covered by your insurance; focusing on comfort, medication management and therapeutic interventions that enhance your ability to take part in everyday activities and reduce unnecessary trips to the hospital.
For more information on Palliative and Hospice Care offered by McLean Home Care and Hospice, please call 860-658-3954
or visit McLeanInspiredLiving.org.