Many families are considering a palliative care program because of the focused treatments that their loved one will receive. What is unique to palliative care that is not typically present in a hospice program? Families will find differences that include the type of treatment, the type of professionals involved, and the costs.
The services of palliative care include benefits for the individual as well as the family. Families will receive daily or weekly education on the disease and the type of tasks they are doing to make the individual as comfortable as possible. They will receive hourly symptom management that will actively reflect on the progress of the disease. Families will receive specific care at that moment. A caregiver is, essentially, assigned to offer information to the family to carry them through this entire process. Rarely will a representative be replaced, as they are there for life. Hospice care can, but does not always have that long-term association. Though there is education involved in hospice care, it is provided through a nurse practitioner or even a social worker.
The insurance coverage will vary between a specific palliative program and a general hospice program. Whether the insurance is going through an HMO or private provider, they will treat it as a speciality physician. Most insurance providers see it as a special need that is not in a core policy. Medicare part A, as well as most other Medicaid plans, will universally cover hospice. That is not the case for palliative care.
For families that can afford the increased resources, palliative care is an incredibly rewarding option. But, that is not to take away from millions of professionals who are doing incredible work in the field of hospice. Many institutions will have palliative care programs within their hospice, and generate a symbiotic relationship between the two programs. They may even offer some services that are usually exclusive to palliative care within a Medicare hospice program. In all, palliative care is an appropriate and comfortable way to care for a loved one going through the end of their life.
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