The philosophies of palliative and hospice care are identical:

  • Focus on quality of life
  • Symptom control
  • Patient and family as the unit of care
  • Team approach to care

However, there are major differences in the insurance process, eligibility and care settings. Hospice and palliative care are complementary, rather than competing services. Each can be essential to seriously ill patients or those at the end of life.

Palliative Care

Palliative care is a philosophy regarding the delivery of care to seriously ill people and those at the end of life. Palliative care can:

  • Focus on care plans to improve quality of life through aggressive symptom management and patient-centered care
  • Work towards a seamless and gradual transition of care from curative, aggressive approaches to more palliative, comfort-based measures.
  • Extend the hospice philosophy into the acute care and long-term care setting

Prognosis, types of treatments offered or the need for a hospice insurance benefit do not limit palliative care services.

Hospice Care

Hospice care is a philosophy of care based on comfort and quality of life. It is also an insurance benefit. Hospice care can be delivered at home, in a facility or in a residential hospice. Patients can choose which physician on their team will follow them under hospice care, and often this is someone from the Palliative Care team.

Medicare’s hospice benefit (there are also benefits from the Wisconsin Medicaid program and many private insurers) covers care for patients who elect and qualify for hospice care. The benefit also provides 13 months of bereavement support for families following a patient’s death. 

Froedtert & MCW health network partners with Horizon Home Care and Hospice.

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