Hospice is a field of medicine that focuses on the comprehensive care of patients with terminal illnesses. Hospice is not a place but rather a service that offers support, resources, and assistance to terminally ill patients and their families. Hospice care is patient-centered medical care. A host of valuable services are offered to address every aspect of the patient's care as a whole. This is achieved by considering each individual's goals, values, beliefs, and rituals. Hospice is a service, not a physical place. Hospice does not hasten or prolong death. Hospice may be recommended for patients in the late stages of a terminal illness. The goal of hospice is to provide comfort, reduce suffering, and preserve patient dignity. A team consisting of doctors, nurses, social workers, clerics, volunteers, and therapists participate in the care of hospice patients. Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance carriers provide hospice benefits. Palliative medicine is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. It is focused on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain, and stress of a serious illness, whatever the prognosis. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family as they are the central system for care. Palliative medicine is appropriate for patients in all disease stages, including those undergoing treatment for curable illnesses and those living with chronic diseases, as well as patients who are nearing the end of life. Palliative medicine utilizes a multidisciplinary approach to patient care, relying on input from physicians, pharmacists, nurses, chaplains, social workers, psychologists, and other allied health professionals in formulating a plan of care to relieve suffering in all areas of a patient's life. This multidisciplinary approach allows the palliative care team to address physical, emotional, spiritual, and social concerns that arise with advanced illness.
Last date updated on July, 2014