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What Is the Difference Between Palliative Care and Hospice Care?

doctor at elderly woman's bedside

Hospice and palliative care are similar in some aspects but there are some key differences. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) is responsible for ensuring that palliative care is widely available across the country.

Both hospice and palliative care are designed to help improve the patient’s quality of life, although to varying degrees of success depending on the illness. Terminally ill patients, such as those with cancer, may need to transition from palliative to hospice care if their symptoms worsen.

Palliative Care

Palliative care is used to help a patient while they are receiving continuing care for their serious illness but not necessarily terminally ill. Also known as compassionate comfort care, palliative care can be used in various phases of the patient’s treatment, whereas hospice care is employed solely for patients who are nearing their end of life.

Palliative care can include cancer patients, COVID-19, or another illness that seriously affects the health and well-being of the patient. Palliative care can take place at a medical facility or at home. A care team will be assigned to provide treatment wherever it is chosen, whether hospice or palliative care.

Hospice Care

Hospice care is necessary when all other medical or spiritual treatment has failed and no other recourse is available, such as a patient dying of cancer. If spiritual or medical treatment is no longer working and the patient isn’t expected to live much longer, hospice care will be established to help improve their quality of life.

What’s more, a hospice patient with cancer other life-threatening illnesses will receive care 24 hours a day. Palliative care patients may only require limited services, although it can certainly include treatment 7 days a week. It all depends on the severity of the illness and the care deemed necessary.

Contact Mary T

If you have questions about palliative care vs hospice care or would like more information about our services, feel free to call Mary T. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding the continuing care of a loved one or family member.