There are several differences between hospice vs palliative care. In this article we will cover all factors including intent, costs, eligibility and locations that effect the two services.
The first difference between Hospice vs. Palliative is the curative intent. The curative intent for hospice care is removed for several reasons like there are zero curative options for the patient, or the patient chose to discontinue the medical treatment because the side effects outweigh the benefits. Palliative care, on the other hand, is comfort care with or without the curative intent. It can be used by patients and family members during diagnosis, curative treatment, follow-up treatment, and end-of-life care.
The second difference between hospice vs. palliative care is the payment costs. The payment costs for hospice care are covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and private health insurance 100%. This includes pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, 24/7 access to care, nursing, social services, chaplain visits, grief support following a death, and other services that are appropriate by the hospice care provider. Palliative care, on the other hand, can be covered by Medicare and Medicaid, but not all types of palliative care. Palliative care treatments and medications can be paid for by the insurance company, but the plans for each patient may be different, so payment costs vary.
The next difference between hospice vs. palliative care is eligibility. The eligibility of hospice care is that two physicians must certify that the patient has less than six months to live if the terminal illness follows its usual course. The certification is based on the prognosis or estimate of the physician. For palliative care, the physician and the patient can agree to start comfort care at any stage of the illness and whether the sickness is terminal or not.
The other difference between hospice vs. palliative care is the place of delivery of comfort care. The place of delivery of comfort care for hospice is at home or at inpatient facilities, such as hospice residences, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, veteran’s facilities, skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), and hospitals. Palliative care, on the other hand, is usually provided by palliative care teams in the hospital. The palliative care team consist of doctors, nurses, grief counselors or bereavement counsellors, health aides, and social workers who give their time and resources to make sure that patients feel better.