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Hospice or Palliative Care: Two Options to Consider When Facing Serious Illness

Hospice Caregiver with PatientIf you or a loved one are dealing with a chronic disease, serious illness or disability, it’s important to remember that you are the most important member of your healthcare team. As the patient, you make the ultimate decisions about your treatment including how much and what type of care you receive.

Those with chronic or disabling conditions may wish to consider palliative care. Palliative care aims to provide symptoms relief, improve quality of life and help reduce stress. Palliative care mobilizes a team of healthcare professionals who work with the patient’s physicians to address the patient’s comfort and symptom management. The team may include doctors, nurses, social workers, nutritionists, and chaplains who are specially trained to provide medical, social, emotional and spiritual support. Palliative care may be provided in any setting – including the home, a skilled nursing facility or hospital. It may be part of the overall treatment plan and can be offered while the underlying condition is being treated with the goal of curing the disease.

Being in charge of your care empowers you to make informed decisions, including the decision to stop seeking curative care when you no longer wish to pursue active treatment. Those facing the end of life may elect to enroll in hospice care. Hospice care is focused exclusively on symptom management and comfort when the patient is no longer pursuing active treatment of their disease. The hospice team includes doctors, nurses, social workers, spiritual advisors and trained volunteers who support not only the patient but their family and caregivers. Typically, hospice is reserved for patients whose prognosis is six months or less, although physicians cannot always predict how long a person will live.

Both hospice and palliative care may be covered by insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid. Speak with your healthcare provider if you feel you may be a candidate for hospice or palliative care. You can find more information about these programs from the National Institute on Aging, www.getpalliativecare.org or by contacting us at IKOR.

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Dan Goldberg is the President & Managing Director of IKOR if North Shore Long Island and has been providing services to seniors and individuals with disabilities since 2016. Mr. Goldberg is a Certified Senior Advisor® with 30 years of experience as a problem-solving financial professional. Those in need of IKOR’s life care management services can learn more or contact Dan by visiting https://ikorglobal.com/locations/north-shore-long-island/.