Palliative care and hospice are terms that describe care that aims to improve a person’s comfort and quality of life during serious illness. Both use a team approach to focus on quality of life and comfort care, including the active management of pain and other symptoms, as well as the psychological, social and spiritual issues often experienced with illness.
The difference is that hospice is a specialized form of palliative care that focuses on serving and comforting you and your family at the end of your life or as your illness becomes terminal with a goal of comfort, not cure. In contrast, anyone regardless of life expectancy can receive palliative care, which can be provided alongside of aggressive life-prolonging and curative treatment. Receiving palliative care does not mean you are dying, only that you may need additional help with the symptoms of your illness, such as pain, difficulty breathing, nausea, or other issues.