Doc Talk | Hospice vs. palliative care


Unless you’ve made a will, we often don’t think of end of life care until we find ourselves in a scary situation.

But that is the life of a palliative care physician.

Palliative care is similar to hospice care.

But with hospice care, it’s understood that death is expected very soon.

With palliative care, that’s not always the case, but the care is still helpful.

When end of life is near all we can really hope for is minimal pain.

Dr. Arlene Bobonich knows all about that.

“I ask where is this bus going and how can we make this the most comfortable, safest, dignified ride for you and your family,” Dr. Arlene Bobonich

As a palliative care physician, her work consists of not only making patients physically comfortable by reducing pain, but also helping with finances, planning and emotional support.

“You may most certainly see us at any stage in a disease process if you feel you need some guidance or you feel unsettled about the diagnosis,” she says.

For that reason, Dr. Bobonich says hospice care is always palliative care but palliative care is not always hospice care.

And she says it turns out end of life planning can sometimes change the outcome.

“There have been numerous studies that suggested that patients with advanced diseases placed on palliative program not only live better, but they live longer,” she says.

She says her patients who are in the hospital she sees every day.

But those who live at home she still sees once a month for as long as they want or need the support.

She also makes it a priority to work with the patients’ families.

Hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst.

“Most doctors don’t like to talk about what your wishes would be if things go wrong.”

If you’ve been recently diagnosed with a serious or chronic illness, talk to your doctor about palliative care.

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