What’s The Difference Between Hospice Care And Palliative Care?


When many people are weighing in the options for their vulnerable and poorly loved ones, more often than not, they get confused between the differences between hospice care and palliative care. It’s a common misconception to think that a hospice is the same as a palliative care clinic. If you are a patient with life-limiting conditions or know someone who does, it’s important that you understand these differences to make the proper healthcare decision. 

Hospice care has many similarities to palliative care, however, there are some essential differences. The reason being is that more than 90 percent of hospice care is funded through the Medicare hospice benefit. To qualify hospice patients must meet Medicare’s eligibility requirements, whereas palliative care patients do not have to meet the same prerequisites. 

What Is the Difference Between Palliative and Hospice Care?

Although hospice care and palliative care have the same intention in mind, which is pain and symptom relief, prognosis, and care goals are usually different. A hospice is a place for comfort care without any means of curative methods since the patient does not have any curative options or has decided not to go ahead because the side effects outweigh the advantages. On the other hand, palliative care is comfort care with or without curative medicinal and remedial means. 

Here are a few other attributes both have in common as well as different. 

Palliative Services

  • Paid by insurance or else self
  • Available at any stage of the disease
  • Can be used at the same time as a curative treatment
  • Commonly occurs in a hospital

Hospice Services

  • Paid by Medicare, Medicaid, insurance
  • Prognosis six months or less
  • Does not involve curative treatment
  • Occurs wherever the patient calls home 

In Common

  • Comfort care
  • Reduce stress
  • Physical and psychosocial relief
  • Provide intricate symptom relief for a serious illness

And both take care of the following long-term illnesses:

  • Cancer
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Dementia
  • Heart failure
  • Huntingdon’s disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Organ failure
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Stroke

Hospice care is defined as compassionate comfort care rather than curative care for those who are facing terminal illness with a prognosis of six months or less, based on their medical professional’s estimate if the disease continues as expected. 

Palliative care is also compassionate care that offers relief from the symptoms and physical and mental stress that comes with a serious or life-limiting illness. Palliative care can be sought at diagnosis, during curative treatment and follow-up, and at end of life. 

What’s the Difference Between Hospice vs. Palliative Care Eligibility?

To be eligible for hospice care, a person must have two physicians certify that the patient has less than six months to live if the disease continues to follow its course. In contrast, palliative care starts at the discretion of the physician and patient at any time, at any stage of illness, whether it is terminal or not. 

Who Are Hospice and Palliative Care Teams?

A group of health care professionals from diverse fields that provide both hospice and palliative care. They help to manage physical, emotional, and spiritual pain, including common concerns such as loss of independence, the well-being of the family, and the feeling of being a burden. 

How To Pay For Hospice vs. Palliative Care?

Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance completely fund hospice care costs. Furthermore, hospice is the only Medicare benefit that includes pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, 24/7 access to care, nursing, social services, chaplain visits, grief support following death, and other services that are considered suitable by the hospice agency. Contrarily, palliative care costs from office visits to prescription can differ. 

Where Do I Receive Hospice or Palliative Care?

A patient can receive hospice care at their own home or in a home-like hospice residence, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, veterans’ facilities, hospitals, and other facilities. Normally, palliative care teams work in a hospital. 

How Do I Decide On The Proper Type of Care?

It can be quite challenging to decide between palliative and hospice care. Nevertheless, the sooner you talk about your options, the easier it will be to make the right decision. With Faith and Hope, you don’t have to worry because it is both a hospice and palliative care center.

Over the years, research has proven that both palliative and hospice care may be more effective if started early. Also, researchers have found out that many people usually wait too long to access hospice care. 

To make the right decision you need to ask the following questions to decide on the right option for you or your family member. 

Where Is Your Health At? 

Go for palliative care as soon as you receive a diagnosis of a serious, life-altering condition. On the other hand, hospice care isn’t available until medical professional estimates a timeline for the end of life. 

An individual can access palliative care for many years before going into hospice care. In some instances, a person can even recover from their condition while undergoing palliative care. However, this depends on a lot of factors, including illness and prognosis. 

What Does Your Doctor Recommend? 

Ask your doctor to give you a prognosis for your condition. Even though the most experienced doctor can’t pinpoint the exact time, they can usually provide a good estimate. Additionally, your doctor can help you decide by outlining the ways you could benefit from each type of care.  

Are You Ready To Stop Curative Or Life-Prolonging Treatments?

A person can still receive palliative care while undergoing treatments to cure an illness or prolong their life. When a person enters a hospice, they must stop all medical treatments directed at curing the illness or prolonging life. This is one of the most difficult decisions to make in treatment, which will take some time to reflect on. During this process, it’s a good idea to talk to a doctor, family, counselor, or social worker to help make the appropriate decision. If you don’t feel right about stopping treatment, palliative care is probably the right option for you. 

Overall, if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a life-altering, long-term illness, palliative care is usually the best option. Normally, hospice care is only accessible to individuals with terminal illnesses, or less than six months to live.

Make sure to talk to your doctor or healthcare provider to help you make the right decision on the type of care you or your loved one requires. There are centers that provide separate services but there are those which provide both hospice and palliative care for patients in Burbank Ca and Los Angeles like Faith and Hope.