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Difference Between Hospice And Palliative Care

Your 1+1 Team
December 21, 2021

When looking at care for your loved one, you may be confused about the difference between hospice and palliative care. While the objective for both hospice and palliative care is pain and symptom relief, the prognosis and goals can be different. Hospice care is for those who no longer have curative options or have chosen not to continue treatment because the side effects outweigh the benefits. Palliative care is comfort care with or without curative intent. There are other key differences to note when deciding between hospice and palliative care.

Hospice vs. palliative care details

Hospice care does not focus on curing the patient’s illness, rather it prioritizes their comfort towards the end of their life by reducing pain and suffering. It is for people facing a terminal illness of six months or less, based on the physician’s estimate if the disease runs its usual course.

Palliative care is also compassionate comfort care that provides relief from symptoms and physical/mental stress of a life-limiting illness. Palliative care can be sought at diagnosis, during curative treatment and follow-up, and end of life.

Hospice vs. palliative eligibility

Hospice eligibility requires two physicians to certify that the patient has less than six months to live if the disease follows its course as expected. Palliative care can begin at the discretion of the patient and physician at any time, at any stage of illness.

  • What kind of patients should choose palliative care?
    • The patient has limited ability to care for himself.
    • The patient is no longer benefiting from curative treatment.
    • The patient does not qualify for an appropriate clinical trial.
    • There is no evidence that further treatment would be effective.

Costs for hospice vs. palliative care

Hospice care costs are 100% covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance. Hospice is the only Medicare benefit that includes medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, 24/7 access to care, nursing, chaplain visits, social services, grief support following death, and other services considered appropriate by the hospice agency. Hospice patients must meet Medicare’s requirements as more than 90% percent of hospice care is paid through the Medicare hospice benefit. In comparison, palliative care costs can vary. From office visits to prescription charges, palliative care can be paid by you or insurance.

Where you can receive hospice vs. palliative care

Hospice care can be received wherever the patient calls home. It can be delivered where they are living whether it be your home, or hospice residences, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, veterans’ facilities, hospitals, and other facilities. Palliative care usually is taken care of in the hospital.

While both hospice and palliative care are there to comfort your loved one, there are key differences that cater to specific patients. Talk to your loved one and their doctor to decide whether palliative or hospice meets their goals of care. 1+1 Cares provides more information on hospice care here.

1+1 Cares is a referral agency that works for clients and caregivers. We match caregivers with clients and inform them of your requirements. We work for you so you and your loved one can have a safe, enjoyable caregiving experience.

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