Ken’s grandfather, Loren, had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease many years prior, but his symptoms were becoming much more severe. Without being able to gain relief through the usual treatments, the family was nearly at a loss at what to do. One of the physicians associated with the senior living facility where Loren lived recommended that the family seek specialized palliative care for Loren. Upon hearing this recommendation, the family’s we surprised and their worry intensified. 

“Palliative care? Does that mean that his time with us is shorter than we thought?” 

“No, no,” the physician explained. “You’re probably thinking of hospice care — not palliative care. While Loren’s Parkinson’s is fairly severe, I don’t see him needing hospice care quite yet.” 

Loren’s family was justifiably confused. Due to a lack of clarity, they believed “palliative care” and “hospice care” to be synonyms. This mix-up led to an emotionally confusing situation. 

What is Hospice Care? 

While the definition of “hospice” stems from “hospitality”, the definition of the term in modern times means to care for as well as attempt to limit the suffering of the more immediately terminally ill. Hospice care has a unique protocol that is designed to not only comfort the dying but help families prepare themselves for the process of saying goodbye to a loved one. Hospice care is recommended when the end of life is more clearly in sight for medical professionals so the appropriate care can be provided. 

What is Palliative Care?

Unlike hospice care, palliative care is a special process of easing the symptoms of a disease or injury rather than seeking curative treatments. Many maladies that presently have no cure cause patients immense suffering and attempts to cure them may not be feasible or may even cause additional undue suffering. Some of these long term, yet not necessarily immediately terminal diseases may include certain varieties of kidney disease, liver disease, long-running cancers, AIDS, Parkinson’s Disease, ALS, and many others. While hospice may care may be necessary eventually, the approach of palliative care focuses on making the pain and discomfort more palatable in the meantime.  

In Summary

  • While they are sibling methods of care, palliative care, and hospice care are not the same thing. 
  • Hospice care is specialized to provide comfort to more immediately terminal patients and their families as the patient approaches their last days. 
  • Palliative care is specialized to alleviate as much of the discomfort of an ongoing ailment as possible when a cure is less likely. 

If you or a loved one are currently being recommended palliative care or hospice care, we invite you to learn more about the professional and nurturing Tulsa area hospice and palliative care services of Cura HPC. At Cura HPC, we care for your family the way we’d care for our own.

Learn more about Cura HPC.