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Hospice and Palliative Care Resources

Hospice vs. Palliative Care

Hospice vs. Palliative Care – Key Differences and Similarities

Hospice and palliative care share the common goal of offering comfort and support to individuals confronting serious illnesses.


  • Focus on Comfort: Both hospice and palliative care prioritize alleviating pain and improving the quality of life.
  • Holistic Approach: They address not only physical symptoms but also emotional, psychological, and spiritual well-being.


  • Timing: Hospice typically begins when curative treatment is no longer effective and life expectancy is limited (often measured in months). Palliative care can be provided at any stage of illness, even alongside curative treatment.
  • Goals: The primary purpose of hospice is to provide comfort and support for individuals nearing the end of life. Palliative care aims to improve the quality of life for patients facing serious illnesses, whether they are receiving curative treatment or not.

What is Hospice?

Hospice is a specialized type of care for individuals with a limited life expectancy, often due to advanced cancer or other terminal illnesses.

  • The focus of hospice is to provide comfort, manage pain, and enhance the quality of life for patients in the final stages of their illness.
  • Calvary Hospice is provided in the patient’s home setting, wherever that is. For example, that could be their private house, assisted living community, or nursing home.

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is a holistic approach to care for individuals with serious illnesses, regardless of life expectancy.

  • It aims to relieve symptoms, manage pain, address emotional and psychological needs, and enhance the overall well-being of the patient.
  • Palliative care can be provided in various settings, including hospitals, outpatient clinics, or at home, and it can be combined with curative treatment.

Who Can Receive Hospice?

Hospice is typically reserved for individuals with a limited life expectancy, often estimated at six months or less.

  • Patients who are no longer pursuing curative treatment and wish to focus on comfort and quality of life are candidates for hospice care.
  • Hospice care is available to adults and children with terminal illnesses.

Who Can Receive Palliative Care?

Palliative care is not limited by life expectancy and can be provided at any stage of a serious illness.

  • Patients who need relief from symptoms, pain, and emotional distress, regardless of their treatment plan, can benefit from palliative care.
  • Palliative care is suitable for patients of all ages.

Services Provided by Hospice

  • Pain and symptom management to maximize comfort.
  • Emotional and psychological support for patients and their families.
  • Assistance with daily activities and personal care.
  • Spiritual care and counseling.
  • Bereavement support for families after the patient’s passing.

Services Provided by Palliative Care

  • Comprehensive symptom management, including pain relief.
  • Emotional and psychological support to address anxiety, depression, and stress.
  • Coordination of care among various healthcare providers.
  • Assistance with decision-making regarding treatment options.
  • Support for patients and families in understanding and coping with the illness.