Hospice Care vs. Palliative Care: Understanding the Difference

Hospice Care vs. Palliative Care: Understanding the Difference

When you or a loved one is living with an illness, the conversation regarding hospice or palliative care can be scary and overwhelming. However, understanding both care options can help you make an informed decision with clarity and confidence. Both hospice and palliative care share similarities in their approach to care but also have factors that set them apart. 

What is hospice?  

Medbridge describes hospice as "focused on caring for and supporting patients and their families throughout the last six months or less of a patient’s life, with the primary objective being to provide comfort and life closure rather than to cure an illness." Research shows that people experiencing an end of life illness who select hospice actually live longer than those who do not. It is important to understand hospice is not about giving up on life. It is about choosing to receive the support and services you need to make the most of the time you have.

What is palliative care?  

 Medbridge defines palliative care as aiming to "improve comfort and increase overall wellness in patients who have chronic but not necessarily terminal illnesses such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, or advanced arthritis, and who are also often pursuing curative treatment alongside palliative therapies. It can occur at any point during the course of an illness."

Key Fact: All hospice care is palliative care but not all palliative care is hospice care. 

What do palliative care and hospice have in common?  

Both hospice and palliative care focus on alleviation of suffering by providing:

  • Comfort care- free of pain and other symptoms
  • Physical and psychosocial relief 
  • Support services for patient and family

Hospice vs. Palliative Services

When facing a serious illness, it is no easy task to determine the most suitable and beneficial path forward. At Interim HealthCare, we are here as a resource to equip you with the knowledge and preparation to make the best decision. Download our Hospice Caregiver Guide below to learn more. For more information about hospice in the Upstate and Midlands of South Carolina, contact us or call (800) 439-4590.