Palliative Care and Hospice Care Differences

Hospice-Hands-V1Palliative care and hospice care are both providers of care for patients with illnesses that are fatal. Two types of care providers to supplement some of the more traditional care options. Their protocols call for patients to receive a combined approach where medications, day-to-day care, equipment, bereavement counseling, and symptoms treatment are administered through a single program. However, no matter how similar palliative care and hospice care are, there are still differences between the two: location, timing, and treatment.

Palliative care is delivered mostly in an institutionalized location, such as a hospital, extended care facility, or nursing home. The institution where palliative care is administered must be associated with the palliative care team because the team is composed of doctors, nurses, and other professional medical caregivers. They will be the ones who will administer or oversee most of the ongoing comfort-care patients received. Meanwhile, hospice care is administered in the home by a team of hospice professionals. Hospice often relies upon the family caregiver, as well as a visiting hospice nurse.

There are no time restrictions for palliative care. The patient can receive palliative care any time, at any stage of the illness, whether it be terminal or not. On the other hand, hospice care is only given to patients who have a certification from a physician that they are terminally ill. Hospice care takes patients whose life expectancy is only six months or less.

Palliative care also administers treatments to patients ranging from conservative to aggressive/curative. Life-prolonging therapies will not be avoided and the palliative care team will do anything and everything to save the patient’s life. Meanwhile, hospice care treatments concentrate on comfort. Curing the patient is no longer the goal. Instead, hospice care makes sure to provide comfort to patients for the remaining days of their lives.

Palliative care and hospice care are very similar when it comes to providing care for dying people.