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Palliative Care Questions and Answers

Question Palliative Care Hospice Care
What is the focus?

Palliative care focuses on the pain, symptoms and stress of serious illness. Most people receive this along with other care they may be receiving.

Palliative care is not time-limited. Most people receive these services as an added layer of support.

Palliative care is not hospice care.

Hospice care also focuses on the pain, symptoms and stress of serious illness.

Hospice care is provided to people with a serious illness who may have 6 months or less to live if the disease runs its normal course.

A team provides this care. This team is made up of doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains, hospice aides, volunteers and others who give care to meet the patient’s and their family’s needs.
Who can receive this care? Any person with a serious illness, no matter how long they have to live 

Any person with a serious illness with months not years to live.

Can I continue to receive treatments to cure my illness? Yes Not usually but check with your doctor
What services are provided?

Manage pain and symptoms, in-person or telephone visits, help with treatment options, advance care planning to honor your wishes, and referrals to community resources.

Manage pain and symptoms with 24-hour on-call service, in-person visits, medical equipment, related drugs, crisis and respite care, volunteers, spiritual care, grief and counseling support, and referrals to community resources.
Where do services take place?

Palliative care may be provided in any place.

  • Your home
  • Hospice facility
  • Skilled Nursing Facility
  • Long-term Care Facility
  • Long Term Acute Care Facility
  • Assisted Living Facility
  • Hospital
  • Group Home
  • Clinics

Hospice care may be provided in most places.

  • Your home
  • Hospice facility
  • Skilled Nursing Facility
  • Long-term Care Facility
  • Assisted Living Facility
  • Hospital
  • Group Home
Who provides these services?

Most palliative care services are provided by doctors, nurse practitioners or nurses with support from social workers and chaplains.

The palliative care team works with your doctor and other specialists.

A team provides hospice care. The team includes doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains, hospice aides, volunteers, and others. Care is given to the person and their family.
What agencies may provide these services?
  • Palliative Care Practices
  • Home Health Agencies
  • Hospices
  • Nursing Facilities
  • Healthcare Clinics
  • Hospitals
  • Hospices
  • Veteran Affairs Hospice
How long can I receive care? You can have palliative care as needed and care can increase over time as you get sicker. Care will depend upon your needs, and the plan you have through Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance.  As long as you meet your health insurance requirements for hospice care. Hospice is usually provided for months, not years.
Does Medicare pay?

Yes. Palliative care may be covered through Medicare Part B.

Some treatments and drugs may not be covered. 

May be subject to a co-pay.

Yes. The Medicare Hospice Benefit pays the costs of care related to the serious illness.

There may be drugs, services and/or equipment that are not covered.
Does Medicaid pay?

Yes. Palliative care may be covered through Medicaid.

Some treatments and drugs may not be covered. 

May be subject to a co-pay.

Yes. In most states Medicaid pays the costs of care related to the serious illness.

There may be drugs, services and/or equipment that are not covered.
Does private insurance pay?

Most health plans cover palliative care. Each plan is different.  You should check with your insurance plan.

Some treatments and drugs may not be covered. 

May be subject to a co-pay.

Most health plans have a hospice benefit that pays the costs of care related to the serious illness.

There may be some drugs, services and/or equipment that are not covered.

 


 If you have questions about palliative care or hospice care, ask your doctor or call your local hospice.




National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, www.nhpco.org

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