Hospice vs Palliative Care

Aging In Place – Hospice & Palliative Care

If you find a senior living community in Atlanta that meets your needs and you chose to live there, it would hopefully allow you to age in place. As mentioned in our previous Spectrum of Care article, some communities have criteria that residents must meet to be able to live there. However, with aging can come some issues that require additional support and services. Therefore, it is good to know what these additional support services are and look like so that you can ask the community before you make the decision to move in.


Hospice is an additional service that may allow someone to age in place in their new community.

Hospice is a specialized form of medical care that seeks to provide comfort and maintain, to the best possibility, a person’s quality of life. A person requiring hospice would be someone facing a life-limiting illness, disease or terminal condition. Hospice is different than Palliative Care in that Hospice typically occurs when there is a life expectancy of six months or less. When curative treatments no longer work and/or a patient no longer desires to continue them, then hospice becomes the preferred form of care. This doesn’t mean that hospice care will be provided only for six months, however. Hospice care can be provided for as long as the person’s doctor and hospice care team certify that the condition remains life-limiting.

Hospice care focuses on your quality of life near the end of life’s journey. The main goal, for the hospice team, is to surround you and your family with comfort and support and will work with the staff of your senior living community. They work together to provide the person with pain and symptom management so that they are comfortable and able to focus on the people and the things that matter most to them and add an additional layer of support to your loved one.

Hospice Care vs Palliative Care

Hospice care generally focuses on the overall or holistic well-being of a person by addressing:

  • Physical condition
  • Emotional
  • Social
  • Spiritual/religious

Many people receive hospice care, some common areas are for people suffering from:

  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Dementia
  • Kidney failure
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

In addition, hospice care can provide support, resources, and information to a patient’s family and loved ones.

Palliative Care

Palliative care, on the other hand, can be given at any time during the course of an illness and in conjunction with curative and/or other aggressive treatments.

Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illness. It focuses on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family.

Palliative care is provided by a specially-trained team of doctors, nurses, social workers and other specialists who work together with a patient’s doctors to provide an extra layer of support. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness and can be provided along with curative treatment.

Palliative care is whole-person care that relieves symptoms of a disease or disorder, whether or not it can be cured. Hospice is a specific type of palliative care for people who likely have 6 months or less to live. In other words, hospice care is always palliative, but not all palliative care is hospice care. 

Thinking About Hospice

Typically, family members serve as the primary person(s) to help make decisions for their loved ones in hospice care. An Advance Directive is very helpful during this time, as it’s a document that clearly outlines a patient’s wishes regarding medical treatment.

It is good to have open conversations with your loved one before it is necessary to make decisions requiring hospice. These conversations allow everyone to know what the person wants their life to look like and help the person (s) making medical decisions be confident that they are carrying out their loved one’s wishes.

How do I enroll in Hospice?

Enrolling in hospice care early helps patients live better and live longer. Hospice care decreases the burden on the family, decreases the family’s likelihood of having a complicated bereavement and prepares family members for their loved one’s death.

Orchard at Brookhaven understands the benefits of aging in place. Our community has special considerations for residents who require hospice and or palliative care in Atlanta.