The goals of palliative care are to optimize quality of life by providing symptom management, pain control, and spiritual, emotional, and social support to patients and families facing the stresses of serious illness.  

Palliative care differs from hospice as it is provided early and across the course of the illness.  A person is not required to have a terminal illness to receive palliative care and it can be provided alongside aggressive life prolonging and curative treatment.

Palliative care is provided in many hospitals and in outpatient clinics.  Recently, some home health agencies have begun to provide palliative services in the home.

Palliative care is not strictly regulated as is hospice.  Services vary from one health care provider to another but, ideally, palliative care should be provided and coordinated by an interdisciplinary team.

What is the difference between hospice and palliative care?

All of hospice is palliative care, but not all of palliative care is hospice.

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