How to Tell Palliative and Hospice Care Apart—What are the differences?

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If you or your loved one is going through a severe medical condition or chronic illness, it can be difficult not only for your physical health because it also impacts your mental and emotional state. While the situation could put you through a great deal of stress every day because you only wish for nothing but to get better, your family and caregiver are also affected.

It can also be taxing on the psychological and spiritual well-being of the people who wish for your good health because seeing you have a difficult time is the last thing they want to witness. During trying times, it will be best to opt for palliative or hospice care.

Unfortunately, many people often confuse the terms together, and sometimes, they choose the wrong treatment for them. If you wish to guarantee the kind of home health care you receive is the one that’s right for you, keep reading below to find out their difference.

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is a treatment for patients suffering from a severe ailment or chronic condition yet they aren’t in grave danger. Along with receiving medical assistance, you can also look forward to palliative care at the same time. 

If, for example, you are diagnosed with cancer, you can hire a reliable home care agency offering palliative care to help you recover faster. At the same time, you can continue undergoing your chemotherapy and radiation sessions and consume medication to reduce any side effects.

Through palliative care, any physical concerns you have, such as discomfort, pain, trouble sleeping, nausea, and difficulty breathing, are addressed. The people assigned to you will look after your medications for you and ensure you take them at the right time every day.

You can also expect to follow a nutritious diet to ensure you remain in good health during your recovery. If your loved ones are having a hard time dealing with your situation, palliative care doesn’t only benefit you, but it provides them emotional support to get through what they can consider a challenging obstacle in their lives too.

What is Hospice Care?

Hospice care is quite similar to palliative care in terms of the assistance and comfort a patient receives from a professional team of therapists, physicians, and other healthcare providers. Your family will also benefit from hospice care, the same as palliative care.

However, the main difference is hospice care caters to patients facing terminal illnesses and diseases. After a doctor diagnoses your medical condition and announces that you only have six months or even less to live because your case is unfortunately incurable, that’s when you should seek hospice care rather than palliative care.

Some companies offer hospice facilities, while others provide in-home health care to ensure the patient remains comfortable in their own homes during their last months. As the group in charge of hospice care continues to offer you and your family their support, they will have to quit providing your medical treatments, especially since it won’t cure you.

Patients with cancer will have to stop going through chemotherapy and radiation while receiving hospice care. In exchange, caregivers, nurses, or physicians will do their best to offer you and your family comfort, support, counseling, and the care you need.


When choosing between palliative or hospice care as the better care treatment for you, it all depends on the medical condition or disease you have and whether it is curable or terminal. If your doctor advises you that your illness can go away with proper medication and treatment, you should seek palliative care. Meanwhile, if your situation has come to the point that it cannot go away through medical treatment, home hospice care is your best option.

Are you looking for hospice care in Denver, Colorado, or Phoenix, Arizona for you or your loved one? Gateway Home Health and Hospice strives to deliver high-quality home-based patient care for our patients in need. With the help of our experienced clinicians and therapists, we hope to exceed your expectations. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our services!



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