Palliative Care vs. Hospice: What is the Difference?

If you or a loved one are experiencing a serious or terminal illness, you’ll likely hear the terms ‘palliative care’ and ‘hospice care’ over the course of treatment. Though the terms are often used interchangeably, palliative care and hospice are not the same thing. So what is the difference between palliative care vs. hospice?

In reality, hospice is a form of palliative care which is focused on the end of life. In hospice, a specialized medical team provides care only to those with terminal conditions. Hospice is typically recommended when a person has a life expectancy of six months or less.

Being on hospice also means that while a person receives care to provide comfort and improve quality of life, treatment for the illness is not provided.

Palliative care, on the other hand, is not restricted to those at the end of life and can be provided in tandem with medical treatment. Palliative care can be provided at any time during the course of a serious illness, starting from the day of diagnosis. An interdisciplinary palliative care team works with the patient, their family, and their healthcare providers to develop a plan that addresses medical, emotional, and spiritual needs.

Palliative Care is most effective when started at the very beginning of treatment for an illness or at medical diagnosis. In fact, recent studies have shown that beginning palliative care as early as possible in the course of a disease improves outcomes for patients and can even lengthen their lives.

Community-Based Palliative Care

For people experiencing serious illness and their families, Seniors At Home’s award-winning palliative care program provides holistic support to improve quality of life and address physical, emotional, and spiritual suffering. We work closely with your physician and other healthcare providers and can coordinate hospice services if and when chosen by you.

To learn more about palliative care or to schedule a consultation with our team, call 415.449.3700 or contact us online.