When it comes to being diagnosed with a serious illness, most people know about hospice care. However, not many people have heard about palliative care, and those who have may only have a vague idea of what it is. Here are three things you might not know about palliative care.
1. It's very different from hospice care.
Some people mistakenly think that palliative care and hospice care are one and the same. However, there are some key differences between the two. Hospice care is the medical care that a person in the end stages of a fatal illness, such as cancer. Not only do the patients receive the care needed to make them comfortable in their last days, but their friends and family also receive support in caring for a dying loved one.
Palliative care, on the other hand, is a newer sub-specialty of medicine that provides medical care to improve the patient's life after they have been diagnosed with a serious, or chronic, illness. Patients suffering from HIV/AIDS, COPD, rheumatoid arthritis, and even Alzheimer's disease can benefit from palliative care because the focus is not simply on making the patient comfortable but actually helping improve their condition and everyday life.
2. It may be covered by your health insurance.
Many health insurance policies, including Medicaid/Medicare will cover at least part of hospice care. But what a lot of people don't realize is that their insurance policy may also cover regular palliative care. The only way to find out for sure what your health insurance policy covers is to call your policy provider and discuss it with them. Even if they only cover a percentage of the palliative care cost, it can help you or your loved one get the comfort care they need for their illness.
3. It's not just for adult patients.
Another thing you might not know about palliative care is that it is for adults and children. When children have debilitating diseases, even in the early stages, making sure they are not in pain while getting treatment is vital. Pediatric palliative care is its own specialty and can be found in various children's hospitals around the U.S.
The pediatric palliative care team works with your child's treatment specialists to reduce their physical pain, as well as their emotional stress. They also do what they can to help ease the parents' stress while caring for their ill child. So, even though the focus is primarily on the ill patient, palliative care also helps their loved ones in dealing with the stress and anxiety that comes with their child's care. For more information, contact companies like Cornerstone Hospice and Palliative Care.