Did you know that hospice care and palliative care are not the same thing? While it's true that hospice is one type of palliative care, hospice care and traditional palliative care bear minimal similarities. The key differences are important to recognize:
- Hospice care is appropriate during the last 6 months of life.
- Palliative care should start at the time of diagnosis.
- Hospice care usually cannot be given at the same as curative or aggressive treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation, blood transfusions, etc.
- Palliative care occurs simultaneously with aggressive or curative treatments, often managing symptoms that these therapies cause.
- Hospice care is paid for in full by the Medicare benefit and by Medicaid (in most states). Most insurances also cover hospice services in full or with minimal co-pays.
- Palliative care is often underfunded and difficult to access in many areas.
- Hospice care most often provides care in a patient's home setting. That could be at their own home or that of a relative, a nursing home or assisted living facility, or retirement community. Some hospices offer inpatient services in dedicated hospice facilities.
- Palliative care is most often done in the hospital setting. More community-based outpatient palliative care services are beginning to pop up in larger metropolitan areas but access is still limited.
Learn more about palliative care and hospice care:
And celebrate National Hospice and Palliative Care Month 2010