End-of-life care for your loved one can be emotionally difficult to face and easily the hardest decisions that you will ever have to make. There are several factors to consider when planning for end-of-life care including therapies, medications, and where the care is going to take place.
Simply put, palliative care is an ongoing, multidisciplinary approach to improve quality of life, symptoms, and general discomfort of the patient for which there is no cure for the primary diagnosis. Organized palliative care services are provided along with curative treatments that may begin as early as diagnosis. The patient’s doctors and care team of nurses, social workers, nutritionists, chaplains, physical therapists and other specialists provide medical, social and emotional support to the patient and their families.
Medicaid, Medicare and some insurance companies cover this care but it is best to check with your insurance provider about coverage.
The doctor may suggest transitioning to hospice care or increase comfort care measures if the life expectancy is not longer than 6 months.
Over time, you may choose to not continue certain treatments and focus on comfort care measures such as pain control. It may be time for hospice, which is when attempts of treatment to cure the illness are stopped. The multidisciplinary team of doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains and trained volunteers work together to continue care for your loved one with frequent visits and respite care. You have the choice of hospice care in your home or in a care facility such as a nursing home, hospice center or hospital.
It is important to work with your insurance provider to make sure you are aware of coverage.
For more information about palliative and hospice care, please visit:
- American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
- American Board of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
- Caring Connections
- The Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association
- Center to Advance Palliative Care
- European Association for Palliative Care
- Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association
- National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization