Hospice and palliative care are both treatments that focus on providing a comfortable atmosphere usually for those who are diagnosed with life-limiting illnesses. Here at Holding Hands Hospice, we encounter people who think that the two are the same when in fact they greatly differ in terms of objective, treatment, and setting. Below is a quick comparison to help you distinguish which one is apt for your loved one.


Hospice care focuses on pain management and addresses the patient’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, while under it is palliative care which still provides active treatment on fighting the illness. Both are keen on giving symptom relief. Hospice includes helping ease the hassle of daily routines like bathing, dressing, and feeding, while palliative still provides prescribed medication for curative purposes.


A patient is qualified for hospice if he/she has been diagnosed by at least two physicians to have six months or less to live, given that the terminal illness will follow its natural course. Having hospice care is acknowledging that the patient has tried various treatments and medication and they have all proven to be futile. Meanwhile, a person can be admitted to palliative care during any stage of his/her illness as long as he/she is still undergoing curative treatment.


Hospice, usually consisting of a family caregiver, nurse, and volunteers who provide round-the-clock care, is commonly done at home. The hospice service provider often provides a pain management system to be administered at home. The only urgent need to have hospice done outside is if the patient is experiencing uncontrollable symptoms or if they lack caregivers.

Palliative care, on the other hand, is often overseen in hospitals, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes as the patient is still actively fighting the illness with nurses and physicians.


Since hospice focuses on improving the quality of end-of-life care, it can forego life-prolonging treatments which might have painful and stressful side effects. The goal is to have patients comfortable enough so they can settle all their affairs in order without concentrating on the inevitable issue of passing away. Palliative care cannot guarantee that same level of ease. What it can do is lessen the intensity of pain that the patience could experience in normal treatments. 

Learn more about the different aspects of hospice care through our blog. For a more comprehensive consultation in the Dallas, Garland, or Mesquite area, give us a call today here at Holding Hands Hospice and our representatives would be happy to help you find the right kind of care for your loved one.