Palliative care is a growing field of medicine as the Baby Boomer population ages and healthcare costs continue to rise. It’s defined as specialized medical care for those suffering from a serious illness that focuses on symptom and stress relief, which can improve the quality of life for both the patient and his or her family members.
Palliative care can seem similar to hospice care. However, there are key differences. Palliative care can begin when a patient is diagnosed and continue during treatment. Hospice, meanwhile, is started after doctors have decided to stop treating the illness when it is clear that the patient cannot be cured and ultimately will die.
Around a quarter of all Medicare dollars are spent on patients in the last year of lives, according to Healthcare Dive. The website published a story about a palliative care program at Mount Sinai whose success suggests that such efforts can reduce hospitalizations and, in turn, reduce medical care costs for patients and their families. Patients with serious illnesses, like cancer, often suffer from pain, emotional distress and financial hardship, and caregivers report high levels of depression and anxiety.
As Healthcare Dive reported:
“‘The more committed to value a healthcare system is, the more committed to integrating palliative care across the continuum of care they are,’ said Diane Meier, director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care Director.
Fairfield University is establishing a nursing program designed specifically for students interested in palliative care. Google also seems intrigued by opportunities in palliative care. The tech giant recently purchased palliative care provider Aspire Health for $32 million.
Florida has the country’s highest percentage of senior citizens — residents aged 65 or older — at 17.3 percent. Those Baby Boomers have likely spent his or her life caring and providing for loved ones and now may suffer from serious illnesses like cancer. Despite advancements in palliative care, which can save money, it’s important for everyone to have an estate plan that includes long-term care planning. Men and women, no matter how old they are, how healthy they are or how long their live, needs an estate plan to provide their families with financial security, clarity, and peace of mind. Estate planning can also address difficult decisions regarding health care and personal affairs in the event of incapacity, and provided for retirement, health care and long-term care needs.
Our experienced and trusted estate planning attorneys have been serving Treasure Coast families for decades, and Michael Fowler is one of only nine attorneys in the state of Florida who is double board-certified in wills trusts and estates and in elder law. Contact us for your initial consultation at one of our conveniently located offices in Fort Pierce, Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, and Okeechobee.