Patient Care

Palliative, Hospice Care Can Help Ease Difficult Times

Aug. 16, 2023

When facing serious illness, many people and their families benefit from the person-centered approaches of palliative care and hospice care. 

An aging couple embraces in a side hug.

“These situations can be overwhelming. It’s important that families talk with one another about their healthcare preferences and goals. They can work together with their care team to ensure their care fits their own values,” said Erin Denney-Koelsch, MD, interim chief for UR Medicine Palliative Care.

Understanding the distinctions between the two types of care can help you make informed choices that prioritize comfort, dignity, and overall well-being.

What is palliative care?

  • Palliative care is a holistic approach to treating the physical, emotional, and spiritual challenges of serious illness.
  • You can receive it regardless of your age and throughout all stages of serious illness, from diagnosis, through the ups and downs of disease-directed and potentially curative care, and sometimes the end of life.
  • We will help to control pain and other symptoms that affect your quality of life.
  • Specialists can help you set priorities and preferences to ensure your treatment honors your values. Completing advance directives, such as a health care proxy or living will can help formalize the process.  
  • You and your loved ones will be supported throughout the course of living with a serious illness.

What you need to know about hospice care.

  • Hospice care is available to anyone living with a terminal illness in their last 6 months (or so) of life, who made a decision not to pursue curative treatment. It can be provided by UR Medicine Home Care, or in hospital or nursing facilities that provide hospice care. 
  • Your well-being during the final stages of life is the highest priority, ensuring you are as comfortable and pain-free as possible.
  • You can work with the team to ensure your wishes for end-of-life care are honored.
  • Counseling and other resources are available to help you cope with the challenges that arise.

Rest assured, our compassionate teams are ready to support you and your loved ones during difficult times.