Page 11 - Senior Times South Central Michigan August 2020 - 27-08
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Senior Times - August 2020 Page 11
 BENEFITS OF CHOOSING PALLIATIVE CARE OR HOSPICE CARE
By: Sherii Sherban, Publisher
Depending on health conditions, one or both of these services could significantly improve your older adult’s quality of life. Deciding which service can be confusing, so it’s important to understand the key differences and benefits of palliative care vs. hospice care.
Palliative (PAL-ee-uh-tiv) care is medical care designed for people with serious health condi- tions.
The primary goal of palliative care is to improve quality of life for patients and family. Palliative care focuses on relieving symptoms like pain, shortness of breath, nausea, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, and depression.
The main goal of hospice is to make your older adult as comfortable as possible. Hospice uses a combination of pain and symptom man- agement plus emotional and spiritual support for individuals and families.
4. Is it covered by Medicaid?
     Palliative Care
Hospice programs are great for seniors in advanced stages of non-curable illness, very frail, or extremely aged. For example, someone with advanced dementia might qualify.
Palliative: Some treatments and medications may be covered.
Hospice: In most U.S. states, Medicaid pays for all hospice care charges, but not a hospice res- idence. Check with local hospice companies to make sure.
Palliative: It depends. Palliative care services
are flexible and based on what your older adult needs, so coverage will depend on what services or treatments they’re using.
Hospice: Yes, most insurance plans cover hospice care.
6. How long can the care continue?
Palliative: It depends on your older adult’s
needs and their insurance coverage (Medicare, Medicaid, or private).
Hospice: As long as your older adult qualifies for hospice.
7. Who provides the services?
Palliative: Hospitals, hospice organizations, skilled nursing facilities.
Hospice: Hospice organizations, hospice pro- grams based out of a hospital.
8. Where are these services provided? Palliative: At home, in an assisted living commu- nity, in a skilled nursing facility, in a hospital. Hospice: Wherever your older adult lives: at home, in an assisted living community, skilled nursing facility, or hospital. Some hospice orga- nizations also have facilities where people can live (hospice residence) or get short-term care for severe pain or symptom management, The cost to reside at a hospice residence is not covered, just the care.
9. Is end-of-life care offered?
Palliative: This depends on the provider – be sure to ask.
Hospice: Yes, hospice organizations have end-of- life experts on staff.
 5. Is it covered by private insurance?
 Under hospice, doctors coordinate treatments so your older adult can feel as good as possible. Medical professionals visit the older adult. This is a huge relief for people who are too frail or ill to go to the doctor’s office.
    Palliative care can be used during any stage of a serious illness. Palliative doctors are specialists with extra training and experience in pain man- agement and symptom control. They help seniors and family caregivers cope with the side effects of medical treatments, fears, and caregiver stress. By relieving symptoms, palliative care often improves someone’s ability to tolerate medical treatments and their ability to recover.
On-call help and support is also available – 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
What many people don’t know is that hospice care offers families much more support than they get under traditional medical care including fami- ly guidance, support, and grief counseling.
    Another significant benefit of palliative care is that these doctors can help families make difficult medical decisions. They’ll take the time to dis- cuss pros and cons of various treatment options, answer questions, and address concerns. Without that expert guidance, it can be even more stress- ful to make tough medical decisions.
Choosing Palliative Care Vs. Hospice Care
1. Who can get this type of care?
Palliative: Anyone with a serious illness, no mat- ter how long they’re expected to live.
   Hospice Care
Hospice care is for patients who are ill enough for a doctor to certify that they may not live beyond six months. That sounds scary, but it doesn’t mean that it’s a death sentence. It just means that every six months, your older adult will need to be reevaluated to see if they are still eligible to continue with Hospice Care.
Hospice: Someone with an illness who may
not live beyond six months. This doesn’t mean they’re definitely going to die, but they’re sick enough that it could be a possibility.
2. Can seniors continue to receive treatments to cure their illness?
Palliative: Yes, seniors could receive palliative care and curative treatments at the same time Hospice: Generally no. Hospice focuses on treat- ments and medicines that relieve symptoms.
3. Is it covered by Medicare?
Palliative: Some treatments and medications may be covered.
Hospice: Yes, Medicare will pay for hospice care charges.
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