Palliative Care vs. Hospice: What’s the Difference?

Queen City Care specializes in Hospice, Palliative and Elder Care in Cincinnati, Oh. We often get asked “What’s the difference between Hospice and Palliative Care?” One of our reps, Kerry Caito, recently gave a presentation on the subject to The Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Cancer Support Community.

While both Hospice and Palliative Care provide a philosophy of care and treatment to those in need, there are several key differences.

First off, Hospice is comprehensive support provided at the end of one’s life; usually characterized as a life expectancy of 6 months or less. Hospice pays for medication and the equipment used to give the dying patient as much comfort as possible. The individual does not receive aggressive treatments on hospice as it is focused on comfort more than treatment. Hospice is also covered under Medicare and most insurance policies.

Palliative Care, on the other hand, does allow for more aggressive treatments. The patient may have a life-limiting or chronic illness, but it is not defined as 6 months or less to live. In a nutshell, Palliative Care is pain management for those who want to aggressively treat their illness. The most frequent types of diseases that utilize Palliative Care are cancer, heart failure, COPD, kidney failure, dementia and neurological diseases.

Both types of care can be delivered wherever the patient would like and you can keep your own doctor.

So, why should you or your loved one chose a program like Hospice or Palliative Care? One reason is that they can help navigate the health care system. The cost of pain management and the last two months of life without Hospice Care are extremely expensive for Medicare and private insurances. Both programs focus on the patient’s comfort and are designed to assist the patient’s family with the day-to-day burden of care giving.

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Mark & Michele Vollmer, Co-Owners, Managing Partners
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