Palliative Care Questions and Answers

Question Palliative Care Hospice Care
Who can receive this care? Anyone with a serious illness, regardless of life expectancy, can receive palliative care Someone with a serious illness and a life expectancy measured in months not years
Can I continue to receive treatments to cure my illness? You may receive palliative care and curative care at the same time Treatments and medicines aimed at relieving symptoms are provided by hospice. The goal is comfort not cure.
Does Medicare pay? Some treatments and medications may be covered by Medicare and private insurers.  Medicare pays all charges related to hospice. Most private insurers also have a hospice benefit.
Does Medicaid pay? Some treatments and medications may be covered In most states, Medicaid pays all charges related to hospice
Does private insurance pay? Some treatments and medications may be covered Most private insurers have a hospice benefit
Is this a package deal? No, there is no ‘palliative care’ benefit package Yes, hospice is a comprehensive benefit covered by Medicare and most Medicaid programs
How long can I receive care? This will depend upon your care needs, and the coverage you have through Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance As long as you meet the Medicare's criteria of an illness with a life expectancy of months not years
What organization provides these services?
  • Hospitals
  • Hospices
  • Nursing Facilities
  • Healthcare Clinics
  • Hospice organizations
  • Hospice programs based out of a hospital
  • Other healthcare organizations
Where are services provided?
  • Home
  • Assisted living facility
  • Nursing facility
  • Hospital
  • Usually, wherever the patient resides. In their home, assisted living facility, nursing facility, or hospital.
  • Some hospices have facilities where people can live, like a hospice residence, or receive care for short-term reasons, such as acute pain or symptom management.
Who provides these services? It varies. However usually there is a team including doctors, nurses, social workers and chaplains, similar to the hospice team. A team – doctor, nurse, social worker, chaplain, volunteer, home health aide and others.

For more information, visit the Center to Advance Palliative Care:


National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization,

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