For Patients and Families

What is the difference between Palliative Medicine and Hospice Care?

Palliative care and hospice care do share the same goals of comfort through the management of pain and symptoms.  Both systems also use an interdisciplinary team in treating patients.  There are distinct differences, however:

Hospice Care is for patients who have a limited life expectancy, usually six months or less.  Therefore, hospice care is appropriate when an illness has reached an advanced state and is generally offered after curative treatment has been determined to be a source of suffering itself and is discontinued. Hospice Care is comprehensive in nature using physicians, advance practice nurses, nurses, social workers, chaplains,  STNA’s, volunteers, dieticians, LPN’s and a vast variety of non-traditional support.  Depending on insurance or  3rd party payor source, substantial financial assistance exists that cover care provided by hospice staff, designated costs of certain medications, supplies, equipment, tests and procedures.

Palliative Care is available for patients in all phases of a serious or chronic illness – early and late stage, including those undergoing active treatment.  Palliative care can be provided simultaneously with curative treatments.

Can curative treatments continue?

Yes. Palliative care focuses on relieving a patient’s discomfort and suffering from illness and treatment.

How is Palliative Medicine paid for?

Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance are accepted for payment. Stein Palliative Medicine patients are responsible for co-pays and deductibles.

Will the patient’s doctor be involved?

Yes. The patient’s doctor continues to oversee the patient’s care.

What services are provided?

  • A consultation at a patient’s home, facility or hospital room
  • Pain and symptom management
  • Emotional and spiritual counseling for patients and families
  • Guided imagery and other holistic programs

What are examples of common things the Palliative Care Team can help with?

Physical pain, Shortness of breath, lack of appetite, fatigue, confusion about medical treatment plans, worry and anxiety, depression, nausea, dry mouth, infections, constipation, insomnia, agitation and delirium in dementia, uncontrolled psychosocial or spiritual issues, advanced care planning, reducing ER visits and frequent hospitalizations.