What Is the Difference Between Curative Care and Palliative Care?


Medical care can be categorized into two major types: curative care and palliative care. The goals and treatments of curative and palliative care differ. Curative care focuses on resolving or curing an illness or disease, whereas palliative care focuses on relieving symptoms of an illness or disease.

Curative care

Treatments used in curative care aim to cure or resolve — either totally or partially — a condition or disease. Treatments used in curative care are also used to delay disease progression. Examples of curative care treatments include chemotherapy or radiation for cancer, dialysis treatments for kidney failure, or antibiotics for a bacterial infection. This type of care may also be referred to as therapeutic care.

Palliative care

Treatments used in palliative care aim to relieve symptoms of an incurable illness or disease and improve quality of life. It is generally reserved for chronic, serious, or life-threatening illnesses that severely impact an individual’s quality of life. The goal of palliative care is to prevent and relieve suffering. Examples of palliative care include treatment with pain medications, treatment for depression or anxiety, help with meal preparation or shopping, and other types of assistance.

Individuals in palliative care typically have more access to necessary pain-management treatments and services than those in curative care. For example, individuals in palliative care are generally exempt from federal guidelines of recommended maximum opioid dosages.

Individuals who are unsure about whether they should be receiving curative care or palliative care should consult their physicians to help with the decision-making process.

Additional source used to create this article: CaringInfo.

Did you find this helpful?
You may also like