The difference between palliative care and hospice is a common source of uncertainty for many families facing advanced, complex illness. Hospice is an important piece of the palliative care continuum.

Both palliative care and hospice take place when a patient is dealing with advanced, complex illness; however, there are several important distinctions.

Palliative care is not dependent on prognosis. It is for anyone with a serious illness, regardless of life expectancy. It is delivered concurrently with curative, life-prolonging and maintenance regimens regardless of sophistication, in conjunction with existing providers.