Hospice Care and Palliative Care – Choosing the Right Level of Care

In previous articles, I have discussed the benefits of hospice care for people with dementia or terminal illnesses. Now I will address the considerations that physicians and patients face when navigating the various options for hospice and palliative care. Choices for end-of-life care, when cure is no longer possible, have improved greatly in recent years. For instance, many hospitals now have palliative care teams to assist physicians in accessing the next level of care, allowing a peaceful life closure for hospice care provider both patients and family members. Sometimes patients can access both hospice care and palliative care programs simultaneously. Other times, hospice care can follow a palliative course in the hospital setting. In this article, I will explain the differences between receiving services from the hospital-based palliative care team and services received from a hospice agency.

The concepts of palliative and hospice care are parallel, but generally do not intersect one another. Both philosophies provide quality of life when quantity of life is no longer possible. However, palliative one follows the curative course that the patient has been on, frequently in the hospital setting. On the other hand, hospice care follows the palliative course, is typically provided in the home rather than a hospital setting, and is appropriate when all curative measures, as well as therapies, have been exhausted.