Hospice and Palliative Care Side-by-Side

Side-by-side comparison of criteria

Both hospice and palliative care manage symptoms, relieve pain and discomfort, improve quality of life, and meet the emotional, social, and spiritual needs of the patient.  Hospice care is provided with a diagnosis of six months or less to live should the disease run its normal course and no further curative treatment is sought, while palliative care is provided to those with a serious illness who continue to receive curative treatment.  The information below can provide an understanding of the subtle, but sure differences.  Unity Hospice is always available to help you and your team have a discussion with a patient.

Admission criteria

Hospice Care

Terminally ill (prognosis of 6 months or less if the illness follows normal course) and desiring palliation of symptoms whether physical, emotional, social or spiritual. Foregoes curative therapies.

Palliative Care

Patients at any stage of advanced and life-threatening illness who desire palliation of symptoms whether social, physical, emotional, or spiritual. May be seeking curative therapies.

Diagnosis

Hospice Care

One diagnosis is selected to be the terminal diagnosis and is the hospice program’s financial responsibility. Other diagnoses may be included in the plan of care and treated but continue to be covered under the traditional Medicare benefit.

Palliative Care

All distressing or problematic diagnosis and symptoms are identified in the plan of care with suggested interventions.

Physician Responsibility

Hospice Care

Certification by two physicians that the patient is terminally ill. Plan of Care reviewed at least every 15 days. Certification for subsequent benefit periods is made by the hospice physician. The primary physician may be needed for orders.

Palliative Care

Palliative consult or admission to the palliative program must be ordered by the patient’s physician.   Plan of Care reviewed at least every 30 days. The primary physician must be available for needed orders.

Caregiver

Hospice Care

The caregiver identified (or plan established for the caregiver when needed) required by Hospice. The focus of care is on the patient and caregiver/loved one's needs.

Palliative Care

Not required. Patient and caregiver/loved one's needs are the focus of care.

Nursing Visit frequency

Hospice Care

Determined by patient and Hospice Team. Generally, 1-2 times per week based on assessed needs, frequencies may change with the changing needs of the patient.

Palliative Care

Determined by patient and Palliative Team. Generally, 1-2 times per month based on assessed needs, frequencies may change with the changing needs of the patient.

Hospitalization

Hospice Care

Must be coordinated by Hospice Team. If hospitalization is for the life-limiting illness, the patient may need to forego hospice care to receive aggressive treatment and then return to hospice care if appropriate.

Palliative Care

No restrictions

Services covered

Hospice Care

Physician, Skilled Nursing, Home Health Aide, Medical Social Worker, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech-Language Pathology, Dietary Counselor, Spiritual Counselor, Volunteers, Durable Medical Equipment, Drugs and Biologicals related to the terminal diagnosis, Supplies, Grief Services

Palliative Care

Nurse Practitioner (NP), Social Worker Services (SW),   Initial consult visit by NP. SW available as needed.

Cost

Hospice Care

Covered 100% for Medicare and MA. Private insurance per contract. Services are available when the need for them has been assessed and becomes part of the hospice plan of care.

Palliative Care

Nurse Practitioner billed to Medicare, Medical Assistance, or private insurance.

Staff Availability

Hospice Care

Nursing, Physician, Pharmaceutical and Durable Medical Equipment services available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All other services will be available to meet the patient’s needs.

Palliative Care

APN and SW available 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. 24 hour and weekend service not available.

Crisis Management

Hospice Care

Nursing Visits to allow the patient to stay where the patient calls home. May receive respite care as needed. General Inpatient Care or Continuous Care available for symptom control or crises when the need arises. All levels of care available to all patients who qualify for them.

Palliative Care

No restrictions These services will be referred out to the hospital or to the patient’s attending physician when the need arises.

Grief Counseling/Bereavement

Hospice Care

Grief assessment on admission to hospice and provided on-going and for 12 months after the death of the patient for loved ones.

Palliative Care

Not available.

Unity Hospice is here to help you make every moment matter.