Palliative Care

What is the difference between Palliative Care and Hospice Care?

Palliative Care is specialized medical care for individuals living with a serious illness. Palliative Care patients may receive care for their symptoms along with treatment intended to cure their serious illness. Palliative Care is provided along with curative treatment and may begin at the time of diagnosis. With time, if the doctor or palliative care team believes ongoing treatment for the serious illness is no longer helping, the palliative care team will discuss future care options. Future options may include:

  • Palliative Care could transition to Hospice care is the doctor believes the person is likely to die within six months
  • Palliative Care team could continue to help with increasing emphasis on comfort care alongside treatment

As with both Palliative Care and Hospice Care, an individual’s care focuses on quality of life for them AND their family. Both palliative care and hospice care provide services wherever the individual calls home – whether that be a hospital, nursing home, specialized clinics or family home. Both services will educate on choices for medical care as well as social, emotional and practical support, just with a different focus for the type of care and treatment goals.

Hospice Care is an increasingly utilized option for people with a terminal diagnosis as an end-of-life care option. Instead of a focus on curative treatment, hospice is care focused on care, comfort and quality of life. Hospice is designed for those patients that choose not to continue to undergo certain treatments. Patients that begin hospice care understands that his or her terminal illness is not responding to medical attempts to cure or slow the disease’s progress.

It is important to discuss disease care options sooner than later, with both palliative or hospice care. To take full advantage of either comprehensive care option, it is good to know all of the information when making your choice for care. It is important to note that your care can change from palliative care to hospice care, or vice versa, if or when that decision is made based on the patient’s goals of care. Use below graphic as image under this section:

Palliative Care vs Hospice Care chart