Hospice vs Palliative Care

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

Hospice Care

Palliative Care

Eligibility

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.

Eligibility

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.

Coverage for hospice or palliative care

Hospice

Hospice is covered by Medicare, VA benefits, Medicare Advantage, Medicaid and most private insurance companies. Services related to the life-limiting illness, such as medication, equipment and supplies, are covered with few or no out-of-pocket expenses.


Palliative Care

Palliative care consultations are covered by Medicare and most private insurance companies. Co-pays may apply.


Medicare Part A benefits may cover palliative care, much like getting care from a specialist. To get palliative care at home, request a referral for home-based palliative care which is covered by Medicare under some circumstances.


Medicare Part B may cover some of the services and supplies to treat your disease. If you qualify for Medicaid benefits, they may cover some palliative care treatments and medications.


Many private insurance plans also cover palliative care as part of their chronic care, long-term care or hospice benefits.