Understanding the Difference Between Palliative Care and Hospice Care
Nicole Winch | April 20, 2021
Mesothelioma can take a toll on a patient physically, emotionally and spiritually. Palliative and hospice care are aimed at relieving some of these difficulties a patient may face during their cancer journey.
Oftentimes, palliative care and hospice are confused as being the same. However, while they do have a few things in common, there are some important differences.
Understanding these differences can help determine which type of care is right for you or your loved one.
How are Palliative Care and Hospice Similar?
Palliative care is a field of medicine that supports people of all ages with serious, long term illnesses such as:
- Heart failure
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Liver Disease
- And many more…
The main goal of palliative and hospice care is to provide patients with a better overall quality of life. Regardless of what type of illness you have, both of these services also aim to:
- Provide symptom relief (pain, nausea, sleeplessness)
- Increase comfort
- Help you decide on treatments options
- Provide emotional support for you and your loved ones
Patients are not required to stop seeing their primary care doctor when opting for either types of care. Palliative and hospice care will work alongside your physician to manage your care.
How are they Different?
The main difference between these two medical specialities is when the care is available.
Palliative care can begin as soon as the patient is diagnosed with their disease. This means that you can receive this care regardless of the stage of your cancer or if you’re still undergoing curative treatments.
Hospice is a type of palliative care but it is only available for patients near the end of their life. This option is for people who are no longer expected to recover from their cancer or decide to stop life-prolonging treatment.
For most cases, in order to qualify for hospice, a doctor must estimate that the patient has no more than six months to live.
There are two other differences to make note of: cost of care and location of care.
Most health insurance will cover both types of care. Coverage will vary depending on the type of insurance you have. However, Medicare and Medicaid will also cover end of life care.
Patients want to feel the most comfortable while living out the remainder of their diagnosis. That’s why many people choose to receive hospice care in their homes with the people they love nearby. Palliative care can take place in a facility like a hospital or clinic.