November is National Hospice Palliative Care Month, educating patients, families and physicans about the similarities and differences between hospice and palliative care.
Many people think hospice and palliative care come at the end of life, and while both often play a key role, palliative care can also provide pain relief, symptom control, emotional comfort and spiritual support as patients recover from serious illnesses and surgeries.
For instance, at Mayo Clinic palliative care teams include physicians, advanced-practice nurses, chaplains, licensed clinical social workers, pharmacists and physical and occupational therapists. Starting with their individual expertise, the members build a care plan that carefully considers each patient’s unique needs. Palliative care can transition into hospice care if the illness becomes terminal. Donna Kamann, a palliative care nurse practitioner at Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse, explains these growing and evolving medical specialties and how they can help patients and their loved ones.