Palliative vs. Hospice…how do I choose?

At Elite, we are often asked about the difference between palliative and hospice. The biggest misconception is that palliative is “hospice light”, and this just isn’t true. Palliative is designed to help you live your best life while you are still pursuing curative treatments. That means, our goal is to help you live the life and participate in the activities by minimizing symptoms and side effects of the medical interventions you need. 

Palliative Care

Definition:
  • Palliative care is a holistic approach aimed at improving the quality of life for patients facing serious illnesses.
  • It is not limited to end-of-life situations and can be provided at any stage of an illness.
Goals of Palliative Care:
  • The primary goal is to manage symptoms and improve overall well-being.
  • A multidisciplinary team collaborates to address physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. At Elite, our team is led by a nurse practitioner, a medical assistant, a social worker, a chaplain, and a nurse. We meet together regularly to support your individual situation.
Applicability:
  • Palliative care is suitable for patients at any age and any stage of a serious illness, including those undergoing curative treatment.

Hospice Care

Definition:
  • Hospice care is a specialized form of care focused on providing comfort and support for those nearing the end of life.
  • Hospice care is typically considered when curative treatments are no longer effective or desired.
Goals of Hospice Care:
  • The primary goal of hospice is to enhance the quality of life in the final months, weeks, or days.
  • Hospice professionals are focusing on pain management, emotional support, and facilitating a peaceful and dignified death.
Applicability:
  • Hospice care is generally for patients with a life expectancy of six months or less.
  • While many believe that hospice means giving up on treatment, the goal of the program is actually a shift in focus towards comfort and quality of life.

Key Differences

Timing:
  • Palliative care can be integrated at any stage
  • Hospice care is typically considered towards the end of life.
Goals and Focus:
  • Palliative care is focused on improving overall quality of life
  • Hospice care is focused on end-of-life comfort.
Treatment Intent:
  • Palliative care is designed to be provided alongside curative treatments
  • Hospice care is more about comfort measures and discontinuing aggressive treatments.