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Learn the similarities and differences between the two

Watching a loved one face the end of their life is incredibly sad. Thankfully, families today have several options to provide their loved ones with comfort and peace near the end. Palliative care and hospice care are the two most common choices to help people with terminal illnesses live out their remaining weeks with dignity. While many people talk about palliative care and hospice interchangeably, they are not one and the same. The team at Agape Hospice NW is here to educate Portland, OR families on what to expect from hospice and how it differs from palliative care. Discover the distinction between these two types of care.

What Is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is a specialized form of care geared to those with a serious illness. The goal is to improve quality of life and relieve painful symptoms associated with illness. Contrary to what many believe, palliative care is not only for people who are in the dying process. Rather, this type of care is for a more general group of patients who have a severe illness that respond to treatment but need assistance with symptom management. Palliative care can be given at any point during a patient’s journey, regardless of their prognosis. While taking advantage of this care approach, patients may see improvement in the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Chronic pain
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Mood disorders, including depression

What Makes Hospice Care Different?

Unlike palliative care, hospice focuses exclusively on end-of-life care for patients in the final stages of a terminal illness. Providers focus on easing the patient’s symptoms and improving their quality of life for their remaining days, weeks, or months. Hospice care professionals also offer services to families, such as spiritual support and bereavement resources. While hospice has a similar goal to palliative care, there is a clear difference in who each approach is meant to serve.

Availability Throughout a Patient’s Journey

A key difference between hospice and palliative care pertains to the timing of their implementation during a patient’s healthcare journey. Palliative care can be provided at any stage of the illness, without any limitations. On the other hand, hospice care is only an option when all potential curative treatments have been explored and the patient’s life expectancy is less than six months.

Learn More About Our Hospice Care Services

Before entering hospice or palliative care, it’s essential for patients and their families to know the difference between the two. While both aim to improve quality of life, palliative care is open to nearly anyone with a life-altering illness. At Agape Hospice NW, we’re committed to helping Portland families choose the best option for their loved ones. Contact us today for details about our top-tier services.

Questions? Contact Us