Is Palliative Care the Same as Hospice?

A patient standing with a support stick, accompanied by a female caregiver holding them, exploring if palliative care is the same as hospice.

Is Palliative Care the Same as Hospice?

People frequently confuse hospice care with palliative care. In actuality, hospice care incorporates palliative care. However, they can be provided as discrete services.

Hospice vs. Palliative Care Definitions

Hospice Care Definition

Hospice care is defined as comfort care (as opposed to curative care) for terminally ill patients with a prognosis of six months or less based on their physician’s prognosis if the disease progresses as anticipated.

Palliative Care Definition

The definition of palliative care is compassionate comfort care that alleviates the symptoms and physical and mental tension of a life-threatening or terminal illness. Palliative care may be administered at the time of diagnosis, throughout curative treatment and follow-up, and at the end of life.

Palliative Care vs Hospice Care

While both hospice and palliative care aim to alleviate pain and symptoms, the prognosis and purposes of care are typically distinct. Hospice is comfort care with no curative intent; the patient has exhausted all curative options or has chosen not to pursue treatment because the risks outweigh the benefits. Palliative care is the administration of comfort care with or without curative intent.

Palliative Care


Palliative care is for all stages of illness. Life-threatening sickness is not required. Similar to hospice, palliative care addresses the physical, emotional, social, and spiritual requirements of a patient.

Goal of Care

Patients receiving palliative care can seek treatment to cure or prolong their illness while receiving medical assistance to manage their pain and other symptoms.

Why Patients Choose Palliative Care

Patients frequently seek relief from pain, fatigue, nausea, or tension associated with a serious illness or its side effects.

Hospice Care


Due to Medicare requirements, patients with a life expectancy of six months or less typically utilize hospice care. Together, the patient’s physician and the hospice medical director determine life expectancy.

Goal of Care

In hospice, patients do not pursue a cure for their illnesses. Their objective is to manage their pain and other symptoms to improve their quality of life for the remaining time they have.

Why Patients Choose Hospice

Patients may decide they no longer wish to endure painful or difficult treatments that may not improve their condition or prolong their lives.

Eligibility for Hospice vs Palliative Care

To qualify for hospice care, two physicians must certify that the patient has less than six months to live if the disease continues to progress normally. Palliative care may be initiated at any time, regardless of whether the patient’s illness is terminal or not, at the discretion of the physician and patient.

Hospice and Palliative Care Teams

Interdisciplinary teams provide hospice and palliative care. They address physical, emotional, and spiritual suffering, as well as common concerns such as loss of independence, family well-being, and feeling like a burden.

Paying for Hospice vs. Palliative Care

Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance pay for all costs associated with hospice care; hospice is the only Medicare benefit that includes pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, 24/7 access to care, nursing, social services, chaplain visits, and other services deemed appropriate by the hospice agency. Comparatively, palliative care costs can differ, from office visits to prescription charges.

Palliative care has no time limit, as noted above. Palliative care is for all patients at any stage of their illness, terminal or not. Hospice care is for terminally ill patients with six months or less to live, provided their disease progresses normally. Hospice care requires a recommendation from a patient’s main doctor to determine that treatment is no longer an option.

Although Medicare, Medicaid, and the majority of private insurers also cover it, ordinary medical insurance typically covers palliative care. However, each item will be invoiced separately, just like ordinary hospital and doctor visits. For further information, contact your insurance company, doctor, or palliative care provider.

The Medicare Hospice Benefit program and the Medicaid Hospice Benefit typically cover hospice care. The Veteran’s Administration and most health insurance companies also fund hospice treatment, either fully or with minor co-pays. Keep in mind that while most hospice programs cover all payments, insurance coverage can vary, so verify your loved one’s policy restrictions for payments before considering hospice care.

Where Do I Receive Palliative or Hospice Care?

Hospice care is provided in homelike hospice houses, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, veterans’ facilities, hospitals, and other places. On the other hand, palliative care can also be provided in homes, hospitals, outpatient palliative care clinics, or at nursing homes.

What Kinds of Patients Select Palliative Care?

Palliative care is appropriate for patients with various disorders, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

  • The sufferer cannot care for himself.
  • The patient has finished curative treatment.
  • The patient is ineligible for a clinical trial.
  • Patients with no indication that more treatment would work.

Speak to Melodia Hospice Care For More Information

We hope this article has helped you comprehend the distinctions between palliative care and hospice care. Contact Melodia Hospice Care today for more information on the benefits and differences between the two programs.

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