elderly woman holding hands with younger woman

The terms hospice care and palliative care are similar in meaning and are often used interchangeably. While they share many of the same services and philosophies, there are also some fundamental differences, however. Here are a few of the most noteworthy differences between the two.


In most cases, hospice services are administered to a patient in their own home. Palliative care, on the other hand, is normally given at the medical facility where the patient receives treatment. This line is often blurred because hospice care can also be given in some cases in a nursing home, hospice facility or even a hospital. Palliative care, likewise, is occasionally administered away from medical facilities. The reason hospice is often more flexible on location is because it relies on a hospice nurse and the family caregiver, while a palliative care team relies on doctors, nurses and other medical caregivers.


Most individuals understand that patients are typically referred to hospice care when they have a terminal disease. While most patients enter hospice when they’ve been given six-months or less to live, there is no specific time limit for their care. Palliative care also has no time limits, but also is far less limited on the types of patients it accepts. Regardless of the stage or nature of an illness, a patient may be accepted by palliative care.


Hospice services concentrate on a patient’s comfort rather than on aggressive treatments. While these treatments could slightly prolong life, they also greatly reduce the quality of it. While it isn’t required that a patient stops treatment when beginning hospice care, it is often the case to enable them to enjoy their remaining time without negative side-effects. Palliative care, conversely, typically works alongside other treatment plans. It is used to increase a patient’s comfort during any phase of their disease and treatment, but not at the expense of the other treatment methods in place.

What is confusing to many is the exceptions to these differences that make hospice care and palliative care even more similar.

To learn more about both, or to find out if one is right for you or a loved one, contact us at Cura-HPC.