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What’s The Difference Between Palliative Care And Hospice Care?

Navigating the delicate realms of palliative care, end-of-life care, and hospice care is a vital aspect of our care home consortium’s daily operations. We recognise the immense significance of getting this level of care just right—for our residents, their families, and the continual growth of our caregiving team. Despite the gravity of these responsibilities, we steadfastly resist the notion of standardising our approach. Instead, we uphold the principle of personalised care, understanding that each resident’s journey is unique and deserving of tailored attention.  

One crucial aspect often requiring clarification is the distinction between palliative care and end-of-life care within a care home, versus the hospice care provided at dedicated hospice facilities. Within our Future Care Group homes, residents are empowered to choose the trajectory of their care, whether it involves remaining with us from their initial palliative phase right through to their final moments or transitioning to a hospice (or other) facility when they progress into their end-of-life stage, if they prefer. This decision-making process is conducted in close collaboration with residents, ensuring their wishes are incorporated into our comprehensive and digitally detailed care plans. 

In this article, we aim to demystify the nuances between palliative and end-of-life care in a care home setting, while also clarifying the differences between these care types and hospice care.

Is Palliative Care The Same As End-Of-Life?

The differences between end-of-life care and palliative care are wide-ranging, but the crux of the matter is that palliative care focuses on improving the quality of life for individuals with serious illnesses, managing symptoms, and addressing their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. It can begin at any stage of an illness and is not limited to individuals in the final stages of life. End-of-life care, on the other hand, specifically pertains to the care provided to individuals who are nearing the end of their life, typically within the last few weeks. Its primary goal is to ensure comfort, dignity, and support for both the individual and their loved ones during this transition period. While palliative care can be part of end-of-life care, end-of-life care encompasses a broader spectrum of services, including emotional and psychological support, advance care planning, and bereavement care for families.

What Does Palliative Care Look Like At The Future Care Group?

Palliative care at the Future Care Group is a specialised approach aimed at enhancing the overall quality of life for individuals facing serious illnesses. Residents typically enter palliative care upon learning of a life-limiting illness, continuing alongside other treatments as needed, and often transitioning seamlessly into end-of-life care within our care homes. Beyond managing physical symptoms, our palliative care emphasises emotional support, informed decision-making, and personalised treatment plans tailored to individual preferences. Our dedicated team ensures open communication, comprehensive support, and a comforting environment for residents and their families, promoting autonomy and dignity throughout their journey. We offer a range of services, from pain management and emotional support to end-of-life planning and family involvement, with a focus on holistic well-being and personalised care. While palliative care begins at the onset of a serious illness and may continue through end-of-life, the latter specifically addresses the needs of individuals nearing death, emphasising comfort, dignity, and support in their final days. 

How Is Hospice Care Different From End-of-Life Care? 

At the Future Care Group, we consider hospice care and end-of-life care as synonymous, with the primary difference being the setting in which it’s provided. While specialised hospice facilities exist, our 18 care homes offer a comprehensive range of care services, including end-of-life care, upholding standards akin to dedicated hospice facilities. Our skilled and compassionate in-house team is well-versed in managing end-of-life scenarios, collaborating closely with local hospices to share expertise and ensure the highest quality of care. 

Our approach to hospice/end-of-life care prioritises holistic support, emphasising pain management, symptom control, and addressing the emotional, social, and spiritual needs of residents and their families. We assemble interdisciplinary teams comprising doctors, nurses, social workers, counsellors, hospice nurses, and volunteers, tailoring care plans to each resident’s unique preferences and requirements. In our commitment to continuous improvement, we’ve recently partnered with the Royal College of Nursing to enhance our expertise in this specialised field further. 

A fundamental aspect of ensuring a meaningful and dignified end-of-life journey for the residents under our care involves meticulous planning from the moment they join us. We prioritise facilitating these vital conversations early on to ensure that every aspect of their values, beliefs, and concerns are thoroughly addressed. This proactive approach lays the foundation for a compassionate and supportive end-of-life experience, leaving no stone unturned. Throughout their time with us, we remain dedicated to enhancing their quality of life in every possible way – from meticulously managing their diet and nutrition, to providing comfort and pain management, and honouring their individuality and legacy. Simultaneously, we extend unwavering support to their loved ones, maintaining our commitment to upholding our end-of-life care values. 

 For more information about our end-of-life care provision, click here. Alternatively, why not book a visit to one of our homes and see the great work we do in person.

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