Bridgeway Hospice and Bridgeway Palliative Care share many of the same goals although there are some subtle but important differences. Whether you are considering palliative care for someone in your life or simply looking to learn more, in this article we’ll explore what palliative care aims to achieve and the primary ways in which it differs from traditional hospice care.
What is Palliative Care?
Palliative care is specialized medical care aimed at managing the physical, emotional and spiritual issues associated with serious illness. At Bridgeway we work with your current healthcare providers to support their efforts in managing your health, while focusing on your personal goals and values.
Patients with a serious illness, as well as their families, are impacted in all areas of their lives. Palliative care can manage these effects across the entire spectrum of care. In addition to physical problems such as pain, sleeplessness and appetite loss, palliative care also addresses the emotional and social side of illness including anxiety, stress and depression. Palliative care may also help patients and families affirm their thoughts and feelings through a therapeutic approach to emotional support.
A palliative care team will also help with more logistical and practical issues such as helping the family understand resources the community offers to help with financial counseling, transportation and housing. The team also acts as a medical liaison of sorts to the family, offering explanation and understanding of available options and treatment.
Differences of Hospice and Palliative Care
The primary difference between hospice and palliative care is that, unlike hospice, palliative care can be utilized while the patient is undergoing aggressive treatment for the illness and at any time during the illness. Hospice care is reserved for patients that are no longer undergoing life-prolonging treatment and typically have less than six months to live. Palliative care has no such time or treatment restrictions—it acts as an additional layer of medical care for those patients who need comfort, care and support.
Another notable difference between these two levels of care relates to how they are billed. Hospice is usually covered in full by Medicare and Medicaid. While Medicare and Medicaid may also help with palliative care, it is usually covered through the patient’s insurance. Some palliative care programs may operate out of hospitals and inpatient facilities, but Bridgeway Palliative Care is community-based—meaning that we will come to serve and care for the patient where they live.
Palliative care seeks to, and succeeds in, improving quality of life. The program aims to prevent unnecessary hospitalizations for issues such as dehydration and shortness of breath. By managing the symptoms at home, quickly, and in comfortable surroundings, patients benefit and costs are reduced.
Gabby Cornett, Director of Palliative Care Operations for Bridgeway, states that “studies have found that early introduction to a palliative care team can increase quantity and quality of life for cancer patients compared to a control group facing the same diagnosis. In our program, we have noted more than 70% of our patients reporting an increase in quality of life.”
The team at Bridgeway Palliative Care and Bridgeway Hospice are committed experts focused on bringing the very best care to any patient and their family through the appropriate approach to meet your needs.