Q:

How is palliative care different from hospice care?

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Quick Answer

The major difference between palliative care and hospice care is the fact that hospice care is designed to provide comfort during the last few months and weeks of life, and palliative care can be administered at any given time during a serious illness, according to Harvard Magazine. The publication further illustrates palliative care as a supplement to traditional care that focuses on managing stress and emotions while helping patients and families cope.

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Full Answer

The differences between hospice care and palliative care include the location of care, care teams, timing and eligibility, notes the National Caregivers Library, In order to receive hospice care, a patient must be considered terminal or within six months of death. Hospice care generally focuses on providing comfort and enhancing quality of life rather than disease treatment. While hospice care teams usually involve a team of doctors and nurses overseeing the program, care is usually given in the patient's home.

Contrastingly, palliative care may be administered at any given stage of illness, whether the patient is terminal or not, as reported by the National Caregivers Library. Palliative care may be given in homes, hospitals, clinics or nursing facilities, according to Harvard Magazine. Palliative care helps reduce health care costs, enhances quality of life and helps patients live longer. Patients usually require a referral to receive palliative care and should discuss the option with a primary care physician.

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