Hospice Care and Palliative Care Clearly Defined

Hospice care and palliative care services are increasing in the U.S., but there is ongoing confusion about what these terms mean.


Hospice Care


Hospice care is made available to patients with six months or less to live. Despite the common misconception, hospice is not a place, but rather the services provided by a specific organization to patients and families dealing with end-of-life circumstances.

This care aims to provide comfort while maintaining the quality of life for people with terminal illnesses and usually takes place where the patient is living.

Hospice Services Include

  • Supporting caregivers with professional guidance on how to best meet the patient's personal and medical needs.
  • Pain and symptom management.
  • Support for the emotional and spiritual needs of the patient and their loved ones.
  • Supplies, medical equipment and medications.
  • Physician consultations, plus regular visits from a hospice nurse and staff.
Insurance Coverage for Hospice Care

Many private insurance companies will cover the costs of care and patients are eligible for Medicare coverage when physicians state that they have six months or less to live. Medicaid and Veteran's Benefits are also available for those who qualify.

This HelpGuide can provide information on both hospice and palliative care services.

Palliative Care

Palliative care is designed to relieve patients of their symptoms and allow them to feel more comfortable. This type of care is given to help patients and families deal with the adverse effects of illness and can be employed even when curative care is still provided.

Most insurance plans including Medicare and Medicaid now cover palliative care.

Palliative Care Covers

  • Treatment for physical troubles and side effects, such as pain.
  • Emotional and coping troubles and social issues brought about by the illness.
  • A loved one being ill can be stressful and palliative care can help both patients and families deal with stress and other negative emotions by providing treatment such as family meetings, support groups, counseling and refer mental health providers if needed.
  • Serious illness may lead people to seek answers from spiritual sources. Palliative care can help patients realize their own beliefs so they can move forward into accepting their circumstances without becoming bitter or losing their faith.
  • Practical troubles such as legal issues, insurance claims and money.
  • Care teams may be able to provide information about resources to go to for transportation, housing and financial counseling. They can also help those involved understand the meaning of confusing medical terms and forms and learn what choices they have for treatment.
MedlinePlus from the National Institute of Health provides more information for patients and families.

Essentially, hospice refers to a specific type of palliative care which is provided to patients who have less than six months to live and who will not be receiving curative or restorative treatments.

Concordance Healthcare Solutions is pleased to be able to support hospice and non-hospice palliative care endeavors with quality cost-effective products and management support tools including third party Medicare billing for Palliative Care patients.

Helping you stay in the know

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