The end of an elderly parent's life can be a very rough time for the caregivers, and many difficult decisions may have to be made for your parent. One choice you may be faced with is to place your parent in hospice. Hospice is designed to care for a person who is in the final stages of life suffering from a terminal condition and is for making the person as comfortable as possible so they may "enjoy" the last days of their lives. Hospice focuses on pain management rather than curing the person and can be provided in a facility or in home. Most hospice plans have the person in their home or familiar surroundings and can be done in a nursing home, hospital or any place that you choose. Hospice also provides the caregivers and family members emotional, spiritual and social support. People who go on hospice usually are not expected to live longer than 6 months.
Palliative care is a medical specialty that focuses on pain relief and other symptoms of an illness. The goal of palliative care is to ease suffering and to offer the best quality of life for the ill person. This type of care is not dependent on an end of life period of time, but can be given for any serious illness. Hospice care involves palliative care, but you do not have to have your elder on hospice to get palliative care. The palliative care team also helps the family of the patient make medical decisions and choose treatments that are in line with the family's goals. This care can be discontinued when the person's symptoms lessen.
Both hospice and palliative care can be covered by insurance plans, Medicare, and Medicaid. As always check before you admit your elder, just so you don't get any financial surprises.
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