palliative care vs hospice

Palliative Care vs Hospice

If you’re not sure about the difference between palliative care vs hospice, you’re not alone.

These terms refer to very similar services. So it’s easy to see why there’s so much confusion about them.

The first thing to understand is that they are not the same thing. There are some key differences between the two.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at palliative care vs hospice so you have a crystal clear understanding of how they’re similar and how they’re different.

How Palliative Care And Hospice Are Similar

At a high level, there are a lot of similarities between palliative care and hospice.

Goal Of Treatment

The main one being that they both provide treatment aimed at bringing providing comfort and pain relief to a patient. Basically, the goal of both is to give the patient the best quality of life possible.

A Team Approach

Both palliative care and hospice are made up of team of health care workers. This team may include doctors, nurses, social workers, nutritionists, physical/occupational therapists and chaplains.

Treatment Location

The care for both can be provided in a number of different settings. A hospital. A nursing home. Specialized hospice and/or palliative care facilities. And, in some cases, even the patient’s home.

Paying For Treatment

Another way they’re similar is that they both may be covered by Medicare, Medicaid and insurance policies. Veterans may be covered by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

How Hospice and Palliative Care Are Different

Here’s the major difference between these two wonderful (and much needed services):

End Of Life

Hospice provides end of life care. To be eligible for hospice, a doctor believes that the patient is likely to pass away within 6 months.

In palliative care, that’s not the case. Palliative care offers treatments to help reduce pain/provide comfort when a patient has a serious illness. However, that illness is NOT considered life-threatening at the moment.

Palliative care is designed to improve the quality of life of those suffering from the symptoms of long term illnesses. These commonly include those with dementia, cancer, AIDS, heat failure and many others.

Treating The Underlying Illness

There’s another important difference between these two care options you should know about. In hospice, no treatment is given that might help cure the illness the patient has been suffering from.

So, for example, if the patient has cancer, no more cancer treatments are provided. Hospice is solely about helping those patients have the best quality of life possible in their remaining days.

In palliative care, patients may still get treatments aimed at curing their serious illness.

Palliative Care May Turn Into Hospice Care

Lastly, palliative care may turn into hospice care in situation where a patient’s condition worsens and doctors believe the end of life is near.

Palliative Care vs Hospice: Providing the Best Quality of Life Possible

Both palliative care and hospice care can provide much needed care for your loved one. We all want our loved ones to have the best quality of life possible no matter what they’re suffering from. And both of these care options are designed to help them do just that.