Illnesses do not only weaken the body—but they also weaken one’s mind and morale. This is why the healthcare team aims to provide holistic treatment as much as possible. While curative treatment is of major importance, palliative and hospice care are facets of healthcare that should be given when needed. 



Defining Wellness

Personal health goes beyond the physical body. To achieve optimal wellness, a person should tap into the five main aspects of health. These include physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and social. 


To be physically healthy, it’s important to stay active, eat a balanced meal, and get eight hours of sleep every night. To tap into the other health aspects, it’s advisable to learn how to manage stress. One should also keep a positive attitude despite the existence of problems. 

The latter is what palliative and hospice care aim to achieve. 



Improving the Quality of Life 

Serious illnesses—like cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or Parkinson’s—exhibit symptoms and stress that add on to a patient’s suffering. These symptoms—pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, and depression—can cause distress and psychologically affect a person. One may even lose morale and the will to live due to their condition. 


Palliative care helps patients gain the strength and motivation to go on with daily life. Health workers aim to relieve pain and other symptoms that cause discomfort by giving basic medical treatment. This includes administering the necessary drugs to treat or control the symptoms. 


More importantly, palliative care keeps one’s psychological and spiritual aspects healthy. Health workers serve as a support system that helps patients and their families to cope with the illness. By talking and listening, the palliative care team will deeply explore a patient’s goals. This allows them to provide a more personalized treatment. 



End-of-Life Treatment 

In some cases, critical illnesses may reject medications. When a patient’s chances of survival are limited to six months or less, doctors will suggest getting hospice care. Like palliative care, hospice care aims to relieve discomfort rather than treating the illness. But unlike palliative care, all curative treatment stops when a patient is receiving hospice. 


For example, a person with lung cancer may be given oxygen through an oxygen sensor to relieve shortness of breath. However, doctors will stop delivering medications to treat cancer. 


The hospice team works with doctors, nurses, and social workers in delivering the best end-of-life care possible. It aims to deliver care that meets the unique needs of a patient. 


Patients with life-limiting conditions often want the choice of how they are going to spend the rest of their lives. And no one should spend it suffering and restrained by their symptoms. With palliative and hospice care, patients will be able to receive physical and emotional comfort. Meanwhile, their families will be able to receive support as they go through their own personal suffering as well. The goal is for everyone to enjoy living their lives to the fullest—free from the bonds of disease. 


Know more about how palliative and hospice care differ from each other through this interesting infographic below. 


written by:  Tara Desquitado