Hospice And Palliative Care: Know The Difference

Here’s a look at what hospice and palliative care mean and how they are different from each other.

Hospice care is provided to a patient after the treatment is over and no positive change in the condition is visible. The main aim of this type of care is to help the patient live as much as possible, in the limited time available. 

Hospice care is provided by healthcare professionals, as well as volunteers who have some basic training of the same. It includes psychological, medical as well as spiritual care, to tend to the overall care needs of the patient. Hospice care also offers emotional and spiritual support to family members to help them deal better with the situation.

Did you know that one of the main objectives of palliative care is to help family members of the patient understand and accept death as a natural process and make the transition smoother?

Palliative care is given to patients to help them cope better with the various side effects and symptoms associated with a particular condition as well as its treatment. It can be offered at the time the condition is diagnosed, during treatment, after treatment and during follow-up care, as well as during the last stages of life. It almost often involves the family members of the patient, to make it a smooth and more emotionally manageable process for everyone involved.


Both hospice care and palliative care aim to provide psychological, emotional and spiritual support to patients and families to help deal with the last stages of life. They are especially provided after a life-threatening medical condition. However, there are certain differences between the two. Here are the 4 main differences:

1. Hospice Provides Palliative Care

Hospice care is a type of medical care benefit that provides palliative care facilities for patients and their families. On the other hand, palliative care is a type of care that is provided or offered to patients who are suffering from any type of serious medical condition. It also involves the family members.

2. Hospice Is Provided After Treatment While Palliative Can Be During Treatment

Hospice care is given to a patient only after the treatment for the particular medical condition is over. It is not given along with the treatment options. If active treatment is again required for any reason, the patient can stop hospice and resume the same. Palliative care can be given at any time through the illness, starting from the time of diagnosis till the treatment is over and the patient has only some time left to live.

3. Difference In Approach

Hospice care aims to provide the patient dignity as well as support during the last stages of life. It does this through spiritual, psychological as well as other means. Palliative care aims to reduce the pain and discomfort that a patient goes through during the last stages of life.

4. Hospice Provided During Very Short Lifespan, Palliative Not Dependent On Lifespan

Hospice care is generally provided to patients who have been given a short life-span after treatment. For instance, someone who is suffering from a terminal condition and has about 6 to 8 months of life left will be offered hospice care. On the other hand, a patient can be given palliative care any time before, during and after the treatment, irrespective of the life span.

While these are the main differences in the hospice and palliative care types, do speak to your medical team to understand the significance of each. It is important ensure that your loved one gets the right amount of psychological and emotional support in the last stages of life, as well as suffers as less pain and discomfort as possible.

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