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Palliative Care vs. Hospice Care

Palliative Care vs. Hospice Care

What are the differences between Hospice and Palliative care?
Sometimes the lines can be a bit blurred due to the similarities between the two. However, there are some distinct differences between them accordingn to definitions from the CMS. 
Palliative Care: Care intended to ease the symptoms of serious illness and may accompany treatments to cure the illness.
  • Palliative care can be provided as soon as a serious illness is diagnosed 
  • Palliative care is intended to enhance current, medical care and can be delivered in conjunction with medical treatment/care
  • It is meant to help relieve symptoms of pain, SOB, N/V,
  • A patient may receive palliative care without hospice care
  • Keep in mind that a hospice provider can offer palliative care to a patient without the patient being on hospice  
Hospice Care: Care intended to provide comfort for patients who are terminally ill and who are not seeking a cure.
  • Hospice care is a specialized form of palliative care and is usually provided during the final months/weeks of life
  • Hospice care is intended for patients who no longer wish to pursue medical treatments, slow disease progression or prolong life
  • Hospice care is comfort care and symptom management

blog palliative vs hospice

Understanding the differences between these two areas of care is important and can affect quality reporting measure performance such as with the CMS 124: Cervical Cancer Screening. Be advised that a patient having hospice care during the measurement period would meet one of the denominator exclusions; however, palliative care provided for pain management or other symptom relief without having hospice care would not qualify as a denominator exclusion.
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