What’s it mean to be sent to hospice and palliative medicine?

I am being sent to a doctor who specializes in hospice and palliative medicine, does this mean I have more problems?


Community Answers
  • Lyn Harper, RRT moderator
    2 years ago

    That’s a great question, Oz. Casey provided a number of great resources in the links; hopefully you’ve had a moment to look at them.

    The two terms are often used interchangeably, but that is not actually accurate – they are different. In fact, palliative care is a fairly new sub-specialty of medicine.

    Both are accessible for people that have a life-limiting illness such as COPD. However, there are some marked differences in the two.

    First, Hospice is a type of care that is targeted toward allowing a person to be comfortable and pain-free as they are no longer seeking a curative therapy. Palliative care, on the other hand, is often started at the outset of an illness, or may be started at any time during the illness. It’s provided by a team of specialists that help a person and their families to deal with pain, make decisions, offer financial advice and assistance, and overall help them navigate the medical system that will now be a part of their lives.

    Palliative care may go on for many years as it helps a person optimize their quality of life even with a serious illness.

    I’m sure you’ll find it to be a great benefit to you. They can help you in ways you wouldn’t think possible. Years from now I’m sure you’ll look back and be very thankful for the referral to palliative care.

    Regards,
    Lyn (moderator)

  • Casey Hribar moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi oz!

    Thanks for your question. Hospice and palliative care can have a variety of connotations, many of which are often confusing and scary. Please know you’re not alone in this, and hospice and palliative care can be a great thing for those who utilize it. Hospice care utilizes a team of specialists, therapists, counselors, etc. to address many different aspects of your care. I found a few articles on hospice and palliative care that you may find interesting or helpful! You can find these here:
    https://copd.net/living/palliative-care/
    https://copd.net/living/hospice-misconceptions/
    https://copd.net/living/the-word-hospice/
    https://copd.net/living/hospice-resources/

    I know posting so many links may be overwhelming, but please know these are just for you to peruse if you choose! If you do get a chance to look at some of these, let us know what you think. Others in the community may also be able to provide some feedback on this as well. Hospice and palliative care can be different for every individual, which is why it may be a good idea to talk with your provider (or new hospice care physician) to find out what they hope you will gain from receiving this care, and what to expect moving forward. If you get a chance to talk to your provider(s) let us know what they say! We’re here for you and so grateful to have you in our community.

    Warm wishes, Casey (COPD.net Team)

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