Palliative vs. Hospice Care

How is palliative care different from hospice care?

Palliative care is for anyone with a serious illness. You can receive it at any age and any stage of an illness, and you can have it along with curative treatment. It is not dependent on prognosis.

Hospice is an important Medicare benefit that provides palliative care for terminally ill patients who may have only months to live. People who receive hospice are also no longer receiving curative treatment for their underlying disease.

Palliative care and hospice are often confused. They are related, but are not the same. Here are some of the differences:

  • Palliative care is for patients and families dealing with serious illness and treatment effects regardless of diagnosis. Hospice care is a type of palliative care for patients and families with life-limiting illness offered during the last months of life.
  • Palliative care helps support patients and families to improve their quality of life while experiencing illness and treatments. Hospice care helps support patients and families to improve their quality of life even as they approach end of life.
  • Palliative care is available at any time for those experiencing serious illness and treatments. Hospice care is especially for those with illness progressed toward end of life.