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Palliative and hospice care

Palliative care focuses on comfort, quality of life and reducing suffering. Hospice care is a type of palliative care offered to patients with life-threatening illness under certain conditions.

Palliative care

Palliative care is a specialized area of healthcare that focuses on relieving and preventing the suffering of patients. Unlike hospice care, palliative medicine is appropriate for patients in all disease stages, including those undergoing treatment for curable illnesses and those living with chronic diseases, as well as patients who are nearing the end of life.

Palliative medicine utilizes a multidisciplinary approach to patient care, relying on input from physicians, nurses, chaplains, social workers, psychologists, and other allied health professionals in formulating a plan of care to relieve suffering and define goals of care in all areas of a patient's life. This multidisciplinary approach allows the palliative care team to address physical, emotional, spiritual, and social concerns that arise with advanced illness.

Hospice care

We collaborate with community providers to provide an interdisciplinary care team for patients with a terminal prognosis for all end-stage diseases. The FHCC Palliative Care Team embraces and implements the hospice concept, including the following: hospice provides palliative medical care, treating the physical, emotional and spiritual pain of the patient and family.

Hospice treats the patient and loved ones together as a whole unit of care. Hospice patients remain in the familiar, comforting surroundings of home, whether it's a private residence, nursing home or hospital. Hospice care provides the following four levels of care: routine care, general inpatient care (if needed), continuous care (during a crisis), and respite care.

Ten key points to remember

  1. Palliative and Hospice Care do not mean the same thing.  Palliative care can be provided alongside advanced medical care for many chronic advanced illnesses. (Congestive Heart failure, Chronic obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Liver Disease, Cancer, Neurodegenerative diseases {ALS, MS, Huntington’s}, Dementia, Kidney Disease)                                 
  2. Veteran’s wishes do not have to be DNR to participate with Palliative Care.                             
  3. Primary Care does not end when Palliative Care begins. The Palliative care team works with your primary team to manage symptoms/clinical needs that arise due to chronic advanced illness.     
  4. Palliative Care does not signal the onset of rapid patient decline.                        
  5. Palliative Care can provide additional support services encompassing the physical, emotional, and symptom management needs of the veteran and help to support their family members (caregivers) with the process.        
  6. Veteran’s Hospice Benefits do not depend upon Service Connection. It is available to all veterans.
  7. Hospice Care does not have to be conducted within a VA Facility.                                
  8. Palliative/Hospice Care can last more than 180 days.                               
  9. Palliative and Hospice Care improve patient and survivor satisfaction.   
  10. Bereavement services are provided to family members for 13 months after the death of the veteran.

Hours of operation

Services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and can be provided in all settings wherever the Veteran may call home. (i.e. acute inpatient setting, long term care, community nursing home, in the community- in their own home.)