Palliative care and hospice are sometimes mistaken as the same thing, even though they’re quite different. Learning about each option can help adults identify which option is best for them should they one day require daily assistance.

Palliative care

Palliative care may be available at any time for individuals with serious and potentially life-threatening conditions. According to Healthline, palliative care is focused on improving the overall wellness of individuals with serious illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, COPD, and other chronic illnesses. Since it is based on individuals’ needs, palliative care can differ from one person to the next.

WebMD says a palliative care program frequently aims to ease pain and help with other problems, including improving comfort. It is used in addition to other treatments. Palliative care also can help patients and their families if an illness makes it more difficult to get around, leads to depression or adversely affects the family, including caregivers.

Hospice care

The National Institute on Aging notes that hospice care may be recommended when it is no longer possible to cure a serious illness or when a patient opts out of certain treatments. Like palliative care, hospice provides comprehensive comfort care and family support. However, attempts to cure the person’s illness are stopped in hospice. Hospice is typically recommended when a person with a terminal illness has around six months or less to live.

When people hear “going into hospice” they may think this means entering a facility. However, hospice can take place in many different settings, including at home, in a nursing home, in a hospital, or even a facility that specializes in hospice care.

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