Hospice care and palliative care are often grouped together with the misperception that they are synonymous. This is further complicated and perpetuated by misinformation provided by both the medical community and the media. Most notably, “palliative” has come to be misused as the opposite of “curative”.
Palliative care is simply supportive care. The word, “palliative”, does not mean “comfort”; it should not be associated with “comfort measures” nor “comfort care”. Comfort measures or comfort care is hospice.
A palliative care team is appropriately referred to as an extra layer of support whose role is most often to serve as a bridge of communication and advocate on behalf of the patient and family when needed. Its involvement in the care of patients and families is independent of clinical condition and/or clinical trajectory. Palliative care is involved over the entire range of medical treatment.
To better relay accurately what is the difference, it may be best to further discuss medical treatment in general. Though it may be unconventional, let us first speak of potential limitations to medical treatment. There are two with one being by far the more important. The first is your wishes. You can tell medical staff what you do not want in terms of medical treatment so long as you demonstrate capacity with regards to that specific task. So long as there is no ethical reason not to abide by such wishes, we are obligated to honor them. The second is your condition. Your condition can limit what we can do medically as we are constantly weighing benefit versus burden and risk. If your condition is such that the burden or risk outweighs the benefit of a medical task or treatment, then it cannot be provided.
If we were to take these two potential limitations to medical treatment and put them aside, we have this wide range of medical treatment that can be provided. On one end, we have what is referred to as full, restorative treatment. This means that the focus of medical treatment is to prolong life…live as long as possible. This is with the understanding that what can be done medically may and will likely cause pain and distress; however, in pursuing full, restorative treatment, these are taken as acceptable consequences with the focus on living as long as possible. A good example is being in the hospital. This can be incredibly difficult and distressing for you as the patient and for your family. On the other end of the spectrum of medical treatment, we have what is referred to as comfort measures. This is also known as hospice. This is a different direction or focus of medical treatment; it is not giving up. It is placing comfort as the highest priority while maintaining your dignity and with the willingness to put aside measures that are considered to be full, restorative treatment. Then we have everything in between. As mentioned above, palliative care is over the entire spectrum of medical treatment.
COMFORT • DIGNITY • RELIEF
MeSun Hospice was established in 2006 to provide dignified, compassionate hospice care to patients and their families.
MeSun Hospice strives to address not only a patient’s physical, psychological, and spiritual needs but also the cultural, social, and other aspects of the patient’s illness experience.
MeSun Hospice renders its supportive services for those patients who have been diagnosed with a life-limiting condition, whose condition meets hospice eligibility criteria, and choose for the focus of their medical treatment to be on comfort.
MeSun Hospice is covered by Medicare, Medicaid, most private insurance plans, or private funds.
OUR HOSPICE CARE SERVICES
We provide hospice services, which focus on comfort as the goal of care while maintaining dignity. Our staff include the following:
Physicians & Registered Nurses
Manage physical pain and symptoms.
Certified Nurse Aides
Assist patients with daily living activities such as bathing, personal care, and light housework.
Provide counseling and assist with finding community resources and other areas such financial resources.
Provide spiritual and emotional support to patients and families.
Qualified and Trained Volunteers
Assist patients and families to meet their various needs.
Provide grief counseling and bereavement services.
Access to care is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
The MeSun Hospice & Palliative Care Center has its own 12 private bed hospice facility for short-term acute treatment, if required, or respite care to ensure fulfilling the needs of patients and families in a quiet, home-like setting. Inpatient hospice care is provided for those whose comfort cannot be maintained in the home or any other setting. Respite care is intended to provide caregiver burden relief.
MeSun Hospice Provides four levels of care, based on the patient’s changing needs.
The levels of care include:
HOME HOSPICE CARE
Our staff visit and provide care to patients wherever they live.
This level of care is provided in the home when continuous care is required to alleviate symptom burden and inpatient care is not an option.
This allows patients to stay with us in our hospice residence for a brief period to provide caregiver burden relief.
Inpatient hospice services are rendered for acute treatment of symptoms when they cannot be addressed in any other setting.
"... knowing that MeSun allowed me to do all that I could for Mom in her last moments ... has been a huge comfort."
" Our families were blessed by the knowledge that Mom was being treated and cared for in such a compassionate environment. We were always greeted with a kind smile and warm wishes."