palliative care

What is home-based palliative care?

The word Palliative is based on the Greek word “pallios” which means cure or treatment. Today, home-based palliative care is the support for relief of physical and emotional pain associated with serious illness and suffering while at home. It aims to make patients more comfortable by relieving symptoms and stress that accompany the illness. Palliative medicine is a branch of health care in the furtherance of providing comfort to patients and families dealing with serious disease.

Home-based palliative care can be preferred over traditional hospital care because it has better results, focuses on the patient’s overall well being and allows family caregivers to remain independent and participate in the care of their loved ones. As the baby boomer generation ages and the population grows older every year, this trend is only expected to grow. What does this mean for health care?

Quality of life

Quality of life is an important aspect when considering home-based palliative care. When receiving care at home, patients often have access to their family and friends who are able to support them through difficult times. The patient’s environment is familiar and feels safe which can be reassuring during stressful situations.

The quality of life for home-based palliative care patients can be better than hospital care because they’re receiving treatment from clinicians who know them personally instead of strangers or just seeing different people each day.

A patient’s quality of life is much better in a home-based palliative care setting because they are being cared for by clinicians and nurses who are aware of the history, personality and social habits of the patient. Being in a familiar environment reduces stress and anxiety on the patient and their family members. 

A person may feel more comfortable and safe when receiving home-based palliative care treatment in his or her own home. It also reduces separation anxiety experienced by patients with terminal illnesses that require frequent hospital visits or extended stays at rehabilitation facilities.

Familiar settings

When you are at home, you are in your own environment. This means that you can have your favorite foods and snacks around you. You can also have familiar photos and items from your past close by. It is easier to bond with family members when they are around their own things, instead of being surrounded by strangers who may not be able to relate.


Patients in a home-based setting feel more comfortable as they are in their familiar environment surrounded by loved ones. This reduces stress and anxiety on both the patient and their family members. One of the primary goals in home-based palliative care is for the patient to feel more comfortable.

The ability to be at home makes it easier for patients to see friends and family, especially those who may not have had the opportunity to visit them at a hospice center during their hospital stay or if they live far away.

A person’s pet(s) can also come into play when deciding whether or not this option is right for them. Studies have shown that pets can positively impact mood, loneliness, anxiety and depression levels of patients with terminal illness. All of these elements make up for a very successful home-based palliative care program.


One of the biggest benefits of home-based palliative care is the social interaction between patient and family members. Patients are usually more comfortable in their own environment, which can help them feel more at ease throughout the course of treatment. 

Additionally, patients receive 24/7 care from family members who are able to provide around-the-clock support for the duration of their illness. This is especially beneficial when caring for elderly persons or those with Alzheimer’s disease because it allows them to spend as much time together as possible before death occurs.

Because this type of care takes place in familiar surroundings, patients will have easy access to their pet(s). Pets have been shown to be extremely effective at providing comfort during times like these since they’re used to being around people all day long,  even when they are asleep.

By having access right there next door instead of having something else shipped into an unfamiliar location after passing through several hands along its way, both parties benefit greatly from these close relationships built over time which otherwise wouldn’t exist if not done properly beforehand.”

  • Spending time with loved ones is very important with home-based palliative care. Home-based palliative care allows families to bond with one another as they have 24 hour access to the patient in their home. This also helps patients deal with separation anxiety that they may experience as they would have easy access to their pet(s). Hospital patients are limited to facility visiting hours.
  • The home environment provides a more comfortable setting for all family members including children who might enjoy being able to play freely, watch TV and listen to music without feeling like they are disturbing anyone else at a hospital or nursing facility (which often have strict rules about children).

Reduced hospitalizations

Home-based palliative care can also help you stay out of the hospital. Studies have shown that this is due to a health team approach at home versus an individual approach in medical  centers. Home teams focus on providing support not just for physical symptoms but also provide psycho-social support for the entire family unit.

Home-based palliative care has been proven to reduce rehospitalizations by 50% compared with hospital programs. Studies have shown that this is due to a health team approach at home versus an individual approach in hospital. Home teams focus on providing support not just for physical symptoms but also provide psycho-social support for the entire family unit.

Home-based palliative team members include:

  • A physician or nurse practitioner who coordinates the home-based palliative care program for all patients within a region and provides guidance to other members of the interdisciplinary team.
  • A registered nurse who often serves as a liaison between patients/families and providers outside of primary care settings such as emergency departments, cancer centers, specialists (e.g., pulmonologists), psychiatrists/psychologists, etc.; can also provide symptom management education and counseling.
  • Social workers who coordinate patient/family social services (social work is not limited to just money management; rather it covers everything from help with applying for Medicaid benefits.
  • Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) who assist with activities of daily living like bathing, dressing meals etc. They may also assist families with transportation needs including trips back-and-forth between home and hospital or doctor’s office appointments if necessary.

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