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Is End-of-Life Care the Same as Hospice?

Making decisions about care options in the final stages of life can be overwhelming. This is why it is crucial to understand the key differences between different types of care upfront, to avoid any additional stress during a period as challenging as this one.

End-of-Life Care

End-of-life care is a type of care which includes a wide range of medical treatments and support services for those who are approaching the end of their life. This kind of treatment is not limited to a specific timeframe or a specific stage of the disease, and it can be applied at any point which seems appropriate. The general purpose is to take care of the patient’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs that were caused by a terminal disease. End-of-life care can be given at home, at a nursing home, or even in a hospital. The main services included in end-of-life care are:

  • Medical treatment for symptoms
  • Social support (providing a social network and companionship)
  • Assistance with daily activities
  • Caregiver support

You can read more about end-of-life care here.

Hospice Care

Hospice care is a type of end-of-life care that is meant specifically for patients in the terminal stage of their disease, who typically have a prognosis of six months or less. The focus of care is not on curative therapies, but rather on palliative care, which involves treating symptoms, which usually cause pain and discomfort, but are not the underlying cause of illness. Hospice care is offered by a team of different medical professionals, which offer support and care. Services offered by hospice care are:

  • Increasing comfort
  • Spiritual counseling and support
  • Help with personal care
  • Grief counseling for families

Key Differences

As previously mentioned, hospice care is meant for the last few months of life and focused on improving the quality of life and managing symptoms. On the other hand, end-of-life care can begin during any point of a terminal disease and it includes several different therapeutic approaches. 

The purpose of hospice and end-of-life care is to offer support, dignity, and comfort during the final moments of life. Understanding their differences helps families and patients make choices that are in the best interest of them. 

What Are Palliative Care and Hospice Care?
What end of life care involves?
What Is Hospice Care?

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