Understanding the Benefits of Hospice and Palliative Care


A serious illness impacts not only the patient, but also those around them. Patients, who once were quite independent, may suddenly require outside assistance. Ironically, physical deterioration and pain may limit social interaction just at the time the patient most needs care and comfort. Often family members find it difficult and stressful to discuss of end-of-life care with each other and with the patient. That is where hospice and palliative care can be of benefit.

Hospice Care

What’s the Difference Between Hospice and Palliative Care?

Palliative care relieves suffering and addresses pain management regardless of the illness, even if it is curable and not life-threatening. Hospice care is palliative care for patients with a life expectancy of six months or less.

Who Pays for Hospice Care?

Costs related to your terminal illness and related care are fully covered by Medicare if they are provided by an approved Medicare facility. Family need not be burdened with the costs of doctor and nursing care, specialty equipment, supplies, prescriptions, etc. Medicare covers grief counseling, homemaker services and respite care to make the entire family as comfortable as possible.

Life on Your Terms

With hospice care, the patient, to the extent that he is able, is in charge. The goal of hospice is to support and enable as full a life as possible. Accepting hospice care does not mean “giving up.” In fact, a study in the “Journal of Pain and Symptom Management” found that terminally ill patients with hospice care lived an average of 29 days longer than those without hospice care.

Pet Peace of Mind

Many hospice programs are expanding the services they provide to support patient’s pets as well. Cornerstone Hospice and Palliative Care, was the first hospice in the state of Florida to introduce “Pet Peace of Mind.” “Pet Peace of Mind” is a national program that enables hospice patients to keep their pets and enjoy their company during life’s last journey. The program volunteers attend to daily care, walking, grooming, and clean up so the patients and their families can focus on spending time together.

Discuss Hospice Sooner, Not Later

Although a variety of services are available through hospice at little to no cost, many families wait until the final stages of an illness to seek care. In doing so, they may actually shorten the quality time they have with their loved one.

My name is Lizzie Weakley and I am a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. I went to college at The Ohio State University where I studied communications. I enjoy the outdoors and long walks in the park with my 3-year-old husky Snowball.

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3 Comments on "Understanding the Benefits of Hospice and Palliative Care"

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Natalie Darcy
1 year 2 months ago

I have been looking into palliative care lately because my grandma is approaching an age where she might need it. I’d like to fully understand this process before I get my grandmother involved, so I really appreciate your article. Thank you for outlining the benefits of home health care like this, I didn’t know that this type of care focused on pain management, this is very good to know.

Meg Lund
1 year 27 days ago

I actually didn’t know what the difference was between hospice care and palliative care before reading your post. Since these types of care involves a lot of discomfort and pain on the patient, I think that the advice you give to discuss this type of care sooner than later was really insightful. Getting this care in to the home quickly will help your loved one to manage their pain and will help you to spend more quality time with them in the final stages of their life. Thank you so much for sharing such great information about this issue!

Aria Wellington
4 months 19 days ago

I really like how you said that the patient is the one that is in charge. That is something that is really important to remember because it is their life. My mom will most likely be put on hospice in the upcoming weeks. Her battle with cancer has been a rough one. I’ll have to keep this information in mind when that time comes.