Hospice vs. Palliative Care: What You Need To Know

What is the difference between hospice and palliative care? The two services can be easily confused so we decided to make things simpler. Here are the basic similarities and differences to help make your Medicare decisions easier. 

The similarities & differences

Hospice and palliative care both offer compassionate care to patients with life-limiting illnesses. But palliative care – which is always a component of hospice care – can be used as a separate area of medical practice while the patient is receiving treatment.

Hospice care includes palliative care and addresses the patient’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs as well. Hospice can help with such daily activities as administering medications, bathing, and dressing, but hospice does not provide full-time caregivers. Hospice requires that a willing, able, and available caregiver be in the home unless alternate arrangements are made.

Palliative care is also focused on relieving symptoms associated with the patient’s condition while receiving active treatment.

Medicare Coverage 

Hospice care is paid for in full by the Medicare Hospice Benefit and by Medicaid Hospice Benefit. Most insurances and the Veteran’s Administration also cover hospice services in full or with minimal co-pays. 

Palliative care is paid for by Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurances if the patient meets the criteria.

Note: Center for Hospice Care is committed to providing hospice and palliative care to anyone in the community who needs it and meets the qualifications, even if they are uninsured, under-insured, or unable to pay.

When are these services used?

Hospice care is reserved for terminally ill patients when treatment is no longer curative during the last 6 months of life, assuming the disease takes its normal course.

Palliative care can be employed while the patient is continuing active treatment through different phases of their life-limiting condition.

Emotional care

Hospice care and Palliative Care often offer psychosocial and spiritual counseling for the patient and the patient’s family.

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