Living with Chronic Pain
What Is the Difference Between Hospice and Palliative Care?
Hospice and palliative care share some similarities. Both types of care provide services for pain management and other symptoms for individuals with illnesses such as cancer, organ disease, or organ failure. Hospice and palliative care teams consist of similar professionals, including doctors, nurses, psychologists, social workers, and chaplains. These professionals help coordinate care and provide emotional and spiritual support for individuals and their families or caregivers.
The major difference between hospice and palliative care is life expectancy. Palliative care can be provided any time after a life-altering illness is diagnosed, regardless of the stage of the illness or life expectancy. Hospice care is only provided when an individual’s doctor determines that they will not recover from their illness. It is end-of-life care when an individual is expected to live less than six months.
Individuals receiving palliative care can and typically do continue to participate in curative treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation for cancer. On the other hand, hospice requires that curative or life-prolonging treatments are discontinued.
People who receive palliative care may recover from their illness and no longer need care. However, others progress from palliative care to hospice care.