Palliative care and hospice care are similar but not the same. Hospice care is a type of palliative care. They both aim to relieve symptoms of a serious illness, but have important differences.
Who can be treated?
Palliative care: You can receive palliative care if you have any serious illness. You can receive palliative care at any stage of your illness, at any age.
Hospice care: You cannot continue receiving treatments to cure your illness. Hospice care focuses on reducing suffering and maintaining your quality of life at the end of life.
Do I have to stop my treatment to cure my illness?
Palliative care: You do not have to stop your treatment if you start receiving palliative care. It can often work along with the primary treatment you are receiving. You can fully receive both your normal treatment and palliative care.
Hospice care: You cannot continue receiving treatments to cure your illness. Only symptom relief will be provided.
Which types of care and health professionals are involved?
Both palliative care and hospice care can be provided by a team of doctors, nurses, social workers, religious advisors, and others. They will work together to provide you or your family member the care that is needed.
Where can I receive care?
Both palliative care and hospice care can be provided at home, hospital, nursing home, or assisted living facility. You can ask your usual doctor about palliative care or hospice care. They can help you decide if either is right for you.
Who will pay?
Hospice care: Medicare will pay all hospice charges under Medicare Part A, if:
- Two doctors confirm that your illness is terminal
- You decide to not receive coverage for any treatment or medication to cure your terminal illness
- You sign a statement choosing hospice care only
Medicaid also pays for hospice care. Coverage may differ by state. Most private insurances will also cover hospice care.