Understanding the different types of care is key to making an informed home care or home health care decision. Often used together hospice care and palliative care share some similarities and important differences that should help you narrow down on the type of care for yourself or a loved one. Both are aimed at bringing relief and comfort for individuals of all ages with serious and terminal illnesses that include, but not limited to cancer, dementia, heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, Parkinson’s disease and organ failure. They also help in providing emotional support to the patient and their family as well as making important decisions on care, treatment and medication. For effective care outcomes, both palliative and hospice caregivers should work alongside the primary doctor for coordination and care management.

What is Hospice Care

Hospice care is defined as compassionate comfort care, often non-curative care, for people with terminal illnesses and have less than six months to live. It focuses on easing pain and helping loved ones prepare for the end of life as the patient is not expected to recover from the illness. Offered in nursing homes, assisted living facilities or home care, in the home setting, hospice care can be provided by a family member or a professional caregiver. Care not only involves doctors, nurses and family members, it also includes social workers, clergy, counselors who offer grief counseling, spiritual and emotional support.

What is Palliative Care

Palliative care is defined as compassionate comfort care providing relief from symptoms, physical strain, emotional stress and mental tension of a serious and long-term illness. Given while doctors treat your illness, care can include pain relief, nutrition advice or counseling at any stage of ailment. Palliative care benefits people with long-running symptoms from conditions such as cancer, AIDS, kidney disease or side effects from treatment. For illnesses that make it challenging to work, get around, play or engage in activities of daily living, palliative care can restore the individual’s independence. Offered through home care, palliative care can be recommended at an outpatient clinic or hospital through a home care agency.

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Summary: Differences Between Palliative Care and Hospice Care


Palliative Care vs. Hospice Care