What is the Difference Between Hospice and Palliative Care?

medically reviewed by Kathryn Kirkland, Dr.

What is the Difference Between Hospice and Palliative Care?  Click image to open PDF

palliative care

  • It is a special form of care to help people with serious illnesses and their families live as well as they can.

  • It focuses on managing or reducing pain and other symptoms and offers other interventions aimed at improving quality of life.

  • It can be used in conjunction with medical treatments aimed at curing the disease and can help patients understand their treatment options and make treatment choices that are aligned with their goals and values.

  • Can help at any stage of serious illness

  • There is no set maintenance period and it depends on what you need and what insurance will cover it (if you have insurance)

Who makes up the palliative care team?

Team members work together to provide holistic care, in collaboration with the patient’s other healthcare providers.

Palliative care can be given in the following ways:

Hospice care

Hospice care can be given in the following ways:

  • patient’s home

  • hospice center

  • Nursing home

  • Hospital (rarely)

Who makes up the Hospice care team?

Do you know? Hospice doesn’t mean stopping all treatments—just those used to cure a disease (like chemotherapy for cancer).


  • For people with serious illness

  • Help manage symptoms and make decisions aligned with their goals

  • Offer physical and emotional support to patients and their families

  • May be covered by Medicare or other insurance

Palliative only:

Hospice only:

To find hospice and palliative care near you, visit the National Hospice and Palliative Care Establishment.

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