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

While both palliative care and hospice care seek to relieve an individual’s pain and symptoms of chronic disease, there are significant differences.

Palliative care:

  • can be provided earlier in the disease process than hospice and does not require a six-month prognosis
  • may benefit patients at any age and/or stage of their chronic illness
  • can be provided alongside curative care and therapies
  • includes consultations with the palliative care nurse practitioner for concurrent medical management focused on symptoms
  • includes 24/7 access via phone to a team of health care professionals, including a physician, nurse practitioner and registered nurse to address an individuals’ medical needs

Hospice care:

  • is provided when an individual has a life expectancy of six months or less
  • is intensive comfort care, rather than curative care; individuals choose to focus on quality of life and forgo curative treatments
  • provides the medications for the terminal diagnosis and related conditions, equipment and supplies
  • includes 24/7 access via phone to a team of health care professionals, including the hospice physician, nurse practitioner and registered nurse to address an individuals’ medical needs; certified nursing assistant to provide the patient with personal cares like bathing, dressing and grooming; social workers and chaplains to offer emotional and spiritual support; and bereavement specialist who support family members and loved ones for 13 months after a death
  • offers volunteer support to patients for companionship by playing cards, reading a newspaper, having coffee, taking walks, giving wheelchair rides or whatever the patient find most comforting

If you’re unsure if palliative care or hospice care is right for you, contact us. We’ll visit with you at a time that’s convenient for you and answer any questions you have about palliative care and hospice care, and about how we can help.

About Hospice of the Red River Valley
In 1981, Hospice of the Red River Valley was founded on the fundamental belief that everyone deserves access to high-quality end-of-life care. We fulfill our nonprofit mission by providing medical, emotional, personal and spiritual care, as well as grief support to our patients, their families and caregivers during a tender time in life. Our staff helps those we serve experience more meaningful moments through exceptional hospice care, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, wherever a patient calls home. Spread across more than 40,000 square miles in North Dakota and Minnesota, Hospice of the Red River Valley offers round-the-clock availability via phone, prompt response times and same-day admissions, including evenings, weekends and holidays. Contact us anytime at 800-237-4629 or hrrv.org.

 

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