Nurse massaging the hand of an elderly patient with arthritis

What is Palliative Care for the Elderly?

When you’re facing a significant health episode – like recovering from surgery, injury or illness – managing pain and discomfort is incredibly important for your quality of life. That’s what palliative care can do for you. Palliative care nurses, pharmacists and physicians diagnose pain levels and adjust medication to help you feel comfortable.

Continue reading to keep learning about palliative care – including the difference between it and hospice – and get answers to all your biggest questions.

What is the Difference Between Palliative Care and Hospice Care?

The primary difference between palliative and hospice care is their overall goal. Palliative care is often a supplement to curative treatment – that is, reducing discomfort while you’re on the road to getting better. By contrast, hospice is synonymous with end-of-life care. It’s intended to maximize quality of life for patients with terminal diagnoses, not cure them.

To be sure, both kinds of care share certain goals – like increasing comfort, reducing stress and offering symptom relief related to illness or injury. But the fact that palliative care is commonly used for people who will eventually recover makes it very different. For example, the types of medications used must be chosen more carefully to avoid lasting issues when returning to regular life.

Here are some answers to common questions:

Q. Does palliative care mean death?

A. No, far from it! Palliative care is all about pain relief and making sure you’re comfortable while you recover.

Q. What is palliative care at home?

A. After a hospital stay, your doctor may give you medication and recommend you get rest at home.

Q. Where else can I find palliative care?

A. Palliative care teams are often found in hospitals and residential senior care centers.


Three Core Principles of Palliative Care

Now you know more about palliative care – like how it’s for people who are still on the road to recovery. But there’s still more to learn. Let’s take a closer look at some of the principles of palliative care treatment.

  • Comfort. It’s not uncommon to have a plan for palliative treatment before you even have a surgery – and that’s because comfort is the first goal of palliative care. As soon as a diagnosis is made, palliative care specialists can work with you to find the right mix of therapies and medications that minimize pain and maximize comfort.
  • Quality of Life. Caregivers will tailor the treatment plan to fit your desired lifestyle and abilities. This can take many forms – like managing pain to allow you to engage in your favorite activities or giving vital treatments like dialysis.
  • Holistic Health. Palliative care means dealing with challenges that illness presents in other areas of life. That can include educating family members about health challenges and providing tactics to adjust and cope with changing abilities.

Explore Our Clinical Capabilities

With care services including 24-hour skilled nursing, advanced wound care, pain management and respite care, we’re well-suited to meet your or your loved one’s needs. Whether you need care following an illness, accident or surgery, or longer-term skilled nursing care, our residential environment offers a warm, friendly setting.

Learn more about Bethany Rehabilitation and Health Care Center when you contact us. Our team will reach out to continue the conversation.