Hospice vs Palliative Care

Hospice and palliative care both offer relief from the pain and symptoms of a serious illness, while also addressing the emotional, social and spiritual needs of a patient. In fact, hospice is a type of palliative care for people during the final stages of life.

Hospice Care

Palliative Care


Because of Medicare requirements, hospice is typically for patients with a life expectancy of six months or less. A patient's doctor and a hospice medical director work together to determine life expectancy.


Palliative care is for people at any stage in their illness. The illness does not have to be life-threatening. Like hospice, palliative care addresses a patient's physical, mental, social, and spiritual needs.

Goal of care

Patients in hospice are not seeking a cure for their illness. Their goal is managing pain and other symptoms to improve quality of life with the time they have remaining.

Goal of care

Palliative care patients can seek treatment to cure their illness or prolong life while getting medical help to manage their pain and other symptoms.

Why patients choose hospice

Patients sometimes decide they no longer want to go through painful or difficult treatments that may not improve or extend their life.

Why patients choose palliative care

Patients are commonly seeking relief from pain, fatigue, nausea or the stress that comes with a serious illness or the side effects from medical treatment.

Hospice is a fully covered Medicare benefit

hospice for mother

Hospice is a fully covered Medicare benefit

Coverage includes nurses and other caregivers, medicines, supplies, equipment and support, with no out-of-pocket expenses for the hospice diagnosis.

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