For people who live with life-threatening illnesses, palliative care and hospice care are rather familiar terms. Both approaches have been developed to help improve the quality of life of patients and their families throughout the course of their illness.

Palliative care and hospice care are very similar considering their nature as caregiving approaches for dying people. However, the two are definitely not the same, and can be distinguished via several factors. Below are some of the main different points between palliative care and hospice care, which can help you to tell them apart and understand which one will benefit you and your seniors the best if you were to need them later on.


Hospice care and palliative care are both designed and provided for patients who suffer from life-threatening illnesses. However, while palliative care is intended to relieve discomfort, symptoms, and stress of the patient at any time during the course of the illness, hospice care is only offer for those who are considered to be terminal or within six months of death.

Approach’s Main Goal

The main goal of palliative care is to make the patient feels comfortable despite their illness, and improve the life of the patient as well as their family. Palliative care also help the patient deal with the side effects of the medical treatments the patient are undergoing. On the other hand, hospice care focuses more on helping the patient feeling as comfortable as possible towards the end of their life, and die peacefully and with dignity.


Generally, most hospice care programs are carried out in the home of the patient and relies upon the family caregiver, as well as a visiting hospice nurse. Some hospitals and nursing home also offer hospice care but it’s not the norm.

On the contrary, it’s more common to receive palliative care at hospitals, nursing homes or other healthcare institutions as there is a need to have a palliative care team made up of doctors, nurses, and other professional medical caregivers to help administer the patient’s condition. Nonetheless, some senior care service providers such as Home Instead Outer East also offer palliative care for seniors at home to help seniors stay in familiar surroundings, which will help them feeling as comfortable as possible.

Type of Treatment

As hospice care is for people who are considered to be terminal or will die within 6 months, most hospice programs concentrate more in making the patient feel comfortable and ready for death rather than continue fighting the illness. Life-prolonging treatments are not a common sight in hospice care programs. Palliative care, on the other hand, is more about fighting the illness while keeping the patient comfortable and positive. Palliative care acts to fill the gap for people who want or need comfort at any stage of any illness, whether terminal or chronic. Life-prolonging treatments are expected when a patient sign up for a palliative care program.

If your senior is in need of palliative care, Home Instead Outer East would love to offer help. Our palliative care program is carried out at the home of seniors by our trusted CAREGivers, who have been trained and will take it personal to deliver the best care to your seniors, helping them to feel comfortable, happy, and independent at any stage of any disease. Our services are available 24/7, even on public holidays.

Thanks for reading through this Blog, I hope you have found it useful. If you require any further assistance please feel free to contact the office.

Kind regards,
Suzanne McLoughlin
Owner of Home Instead Outer East

P.S. We provide free Care Consultations and resource guides to support and guide families. Download your free copies from our Aged Care Resources page or Request a Free Information Pack to receive a hard copy.