Palliative Care Versus Hospice Care

When a loved one is seriously ill, finding the best care available is your top priority. You may be familiar with the terms “palliative care,” and “hospice care,” but do you know the difference between the two? While the two are often conflated, palliative care and hospice care differ greatly.

Hospice provides medical care during terminal illnesses, in addition to emotional, spiritual, and physical support, following a prognosis of six-months or less. Medicare, which covers a significant portion of hospice care, also requires that the patient cease any treatments intended to cure the illness. These treatments might include chemotherapy, drugs to combat psychosomatic conditions, and more. Ultimately, hospice care aims to keep the patient as comfortable as possible as terminal illness progresses into its final stages.

On the other hand, palliative care may be provided at any time following the diagnosis of a serious illness, such as renal disease and any progressive disease (pulmonary, cardiac, etc.). Unlike hospice, palliative care does not require the cessation of curative treatments, while still providing the same relief from pain and symptoms. Ultimately, palliative care focuses on improved quality of life for both the patient and his or her family.

The Larsen Pavilion at Shell Point has partnered with Hope Hospice to offer hospice care through a 9-bed, general inpatient unit. The Larsen Pavilion’s compassionate, personalized healthcare is complemented by its scenic waterfront setting. To learn more about this and other services at the Larsen Pavilion, including memory care and specialized rehabilitative therapy, call (239) 415-5432.

About Roger Hirchak, D.O., Medical Director, Shell Point Retirement Community

Roger Hirchak, D.O., has served as VP of Medical Services for Shell Point since 1998. Dr. Hirchak oversees the integrated healthcare delivery program of the Shell Point Health System including hospice, behavioral health, pharmacy services, two medical centers, physician services, and more. He is also the Medical Director of the Larsen Pavilion Skilled Nursing Center and serves as preceptor for third and fourth year students from Nova-Southeastern University and the University of Health Sciences in Kansas City.