Know the Difference between Hospice and Palliative Care

Hospice vs. Palliative Care


How they are they are the same:

Hospice and palliative care both offer compassionate care to patients with life limiting illnesses.  But, palliative care (which is a separate program) can be used along with other medical paractices while the patient is seeking aggressive treatment.

Hospice care addresses the patient’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs as well.  Hospice can help with such daily activities as administering medications, bathing, and dressing.  However, hospice does not provide full time caregivers.  Hospice requires that a willing, able, and available caregiver be in the home, unless alternate arrangements are made.

Palliative care is also focused on relieving symptoms associated with the patient’s condition in the patient’s home while receiving active treatment.


When they are used:

Hospice care is reserved for terminally ill patients when treatment is no longer curative during the last 6 months of life, assuming the disease takes its normal course.

Palliative care can be given for months and even years while the patient is continuing active treatment through different phases of their life limiting condition.  The patient has a drive to stay alive!


Emotional care:

Hospice care treats the whole patient and the family, offering  psychosocial and spiritual counseling.

Palliative care offers both spiritual and social worker services when needed.


Payment methods:

Hospice care is paid for in full by the Medicare Hospice Benefit and by Medicaid Hospice Benefit.  Most insurances and the Veteran’s Administration also cover hospice services in full or with minimal co-pays.  AmityCare Hospice and Palliative Services is committed to providing hospice and palliative care to anyone in the community who needs it and meets the qualifications; even if they are uninsured, under-insured, or have difficulty with payments.

Palliative care is paid for by Medicaid, Medicare, and some private insurances if the patient meets specified criteria.


Where care is received

Hospice care is most often provided in a patient’s home setting, regardless of whether it’s a house, apartment, nursing home, assisted living facility, or other setting.

Palliative care is most often received in the home / apartment, and is started especially  after a hospital discharge.