December 1, 2023

While both hospice and palliative care aim to alleviate pain and symptoms, the prognosis and care goals are typically distinct. Hospice is comfort care with no curative goal; the patient has exhausted all curative choices or has opted not to pursue treatment because the risks exceed the benefits. Palliative care is comfort treatment with or without the intention of curing.

Hospice care is comparable to palliative care, although there are significant distinctions. The Medicare hospice benefit covers more than 90 percent of hospice treatment; hence, hospice patients must meet Medicare’s eligibility conditions, whereas palliative care patients do not.

Hospice care versus palliative care:

Hospice Care Meaning

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

Palliative Care Definition

It is define as comfort care that gives relieves symptoms and physical and mental stress of a life-threatening or terminal illness. Palliative care can be administer during diagnosis, curative treatment, follow-up, and at the end of life.

Hospice vs. Palliative Care Eligibility

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

Teams of Hospice and Palliative Care

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

Hospice versus Palliative Care Costs

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 prices might vary, from office visits to pharmaceutical charges. Here you may learn more about who pays for palliative care.

Where may I receive palliative or hospice care?

Hospice care is provided at home or in facilities that resemble homes, such as hospice residences, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, veterans’ facilities, and hospitals. Typically, palliative care teams work in hospitals.

Which Patients Opt for Palliative Care?

The American Society of Clinical Oncology has established the characteristics of a patient who should get palliative care rather than curative treatment; similar qualities also apply to individuals with other diseases.

  • The patient’s ability to care for himself is limited.
  • The patient has completed curative treatment and no longer derives benefits from it.
  • The patient is not eligible for a suitable clinical trial.
  • There are no indications that additional treatment would be effective.

Discuss with your family and physician your care objectives and whether palliative and hospice care could improve your quality of life.

What symptoms and care are administered in end-of-life care?

Even though symptoms in the later stages of life vary from person to person and depend on the type of life-limiting illness, people encounter a few common symptoms in their final days.

  • These symptoms do not necessarily indicate that your loved one’s condition is deteriorating or that death is imminent.
  • In addition to physical care, the individual requires psychological support. The most important things you can do for a dying individual are to assist them with their emotions and provide comfort.
  • By holding their hand, you can comfort them that they’re not alone.
  • Permit them to share the information they wish to discuss over time.
  • Communicate when they are in mortal terror.
  • Hold their hand and provide comfort, especially if they are experiencing life regret.
  • Accept their requests even after their passing.

Surround a loved one with photographs and mementos, read cherished books aloud, play music, provide long, gentle strokes, and recount life stories—all of these aid in promoting the dignity and comfort of the dying.

How to choose among them

In most instances, the choice between hospice and palliative care is determined by the details of a person’s sickness and condition rather than their personal preference. A person is ineligible for hospice care, for instance, if they do not have a terminal illness or receive curative treatment for a chronic illness.

A hospice may be the best option for a patient who:

  • has a fatal disease
  • is likely to die within six months
  • no longer receives disease-specific therapy
  • Palliative care may be the optimal option for someone who:
  • has a life-threatening or severe illness with an uncertain prognosis
  • has a greater life expectancy than six months
  • continues to pursue rigorous treatment to cure or treat the condition

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