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Differences between End of Life Care and Palliative Care
When loved ones face serious illnesses it can be an overwhelming experience for patients and their families. During these discussions, we will often explore the options of “end of Life care” and “palliative care”. Although related, they represent different approaches to health care.
Within this blog post, we will explore the differences between end of life care and palliative care and how each option is delivered to clients and patients. To support your loved ones as best as possible during the most difficult times, it’s important to make informed decisions on what healthcare process is best suited for the patient and the family.
End of Life Care vs Palliative Care
End of Life Care and Palliative care, despite being related and similar, have different approaches to care for terminally ill clients.
Palliative care can be initiated at any stage of serious illness, not just end of life. The goal of palliative care in the home is to improve quality of life by addressing and supporting any symptoms or emotional distress by providing relief and comfort to the patient as they continue treatment. Palliative care can be provided in a setting preferred by the patient and/or family, such as hospitals, outpatient clinics, palliative care homes and facilities, or live-in care.
End of life care is provided when a patient is nearing the end of life and often has a short prognosis. This is often measured in weeks or months. The main goal of end of life care is to provide the client with comfort and dignity as they approach their final stages of life by providing as much relief and support as possible.
A comparative look at the goals of End of Life and Palliative Care
During palliative care, the options for treatments are discussed and decided amongst the patient and family. The goal is to manage the symptoms and support the emotional distress of both the patient and the family. Whilst palliative care includes treatments which extend life expectancy, they must also align with the individual’s values and preferences.
Treatment options are typically discussed during palliative care, and the aim is to monitor and control symptoms to improve the quality and comfort of the patient’s life, intending to extend life expectancy.
End of life care is usually provided within hospice programmes, which are designed specifically for patients at the end of life. Hospice care can be provided in the person’s home, hospital, or hospice, and the primary goal is to ensure the patient maintains a peaceful and comfortable environment.
During end of life care, the goal changes from prolonging the patient’s life to paying attention to the comfort and quality of the environment and controlling any symptoms. End of life care is designed to minimise suffering and place greater emphasis on a peaceful and natural end to their lives.
Coping with terminal illnesses is a challenging journey to face, often paired with tough healthcare decisions. end of life care is an important option when a patient is nearing the end of life. This type of care focuses on comfortability, dignity, and peace to ensure a peaceful transition. Palliative care can be initiated at any stage of illness, and its purpose is to improve the quality of life, whilst addressing symptoms and emotional distress throughout treatment to prolong the patient’s life. Making decisions based on a loved one’s transition to death is a difficult one, so it’s important to ensure you are fully informed on all components of palliative and end of life care.