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Palliative Care vs. Hospice Care: What’s the Difference

Palliative Care vs. Hospice Care

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Palliative Care vs. Hospice Care: What’s the Difference

Making decisions about healthcare can be tough, particularly when you or your loved one is facing a life-limiting illness or chronic condition.

Knowing the difference between palliative care and hospice care can help ensure that you are getting the most appropriate and effective care for your needs. Let’s take a look at what sets them apart.

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is offered to patients of all ages diagnosed with a serious or life-threatening illnesses. It focuses on relief from symptoms such as pain and fatigue while providing emotional and spiritual support for the patient and their family.

Palliative care can be used in conjunction with curative treatments—such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgery—or as an alternative to these treatments in some cases. Palliative care aims to improve quality of life by managing symptoms and providing comfort while allowing the patient to remain at home or in another familiar setting.

What is Hospice Care?

Hospice care focuses on providing comfort and symptom management for people diagnosed with a terminal illness with a prognosis of six months or less if they receive only palliative treatment. Hospice care usually occurs in a hospice facility or within the patient’s home (with services provided by specially trained professionals).

The goal of hospice care is not to cure but rather to provide compassionate end-of-life support for the patient and their loved ones during this difficult time. This includes physical pain relief, as well as emotional and spiritual support from trained professionals who understand how to manage end-of-life issues best.


The terms “palliative care” and “hospice care” are often used interchangeably, but it’s important to understand that there are key differences between them.

Palliative care focuses on relieving symptoms while allowing curative treatments when available, while hospice provides specialized end-of-life support for those facing terminal illnesses with limited prognoses.

Ultimately, understanding the differences between palliative and hospice care will help you make informed decisions about your healthcare plan as you strive toward achieving physical comfort and emotional peace during this difficult time.

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