Palliative care focuses on improving a patient’s quality of life by managing pain and other distressing symptoms of a serious illness. Palliative care should be provided along with other medical treatments.
Hospice is palliative care for patients in their last year of life. Hospice care can be provided in patients’ homes, hospice centers, hospitals, longterm care facilities, or wherever a patient resides.
Physicians who specialize in hospice and palliative medicine work with other doctors and healthcare professionals, listen to patients and align their treatments with what’s important to them, and help families navigate the complex healthcare system.
Sean Morrison summarizes the core concepts of hospice and palliative medicine (above) in a recent article in AAHPM Bulletin (available online to members only … sorry I can’t link).
He concludes … Quality palliative and hospice care is about matching treatment to informed patient and family goals. If we shift our language to focus on matching the needs, values, and goals of our patients and their families as they define them, we cannot help but succeed.