Early introduction of palliative care (well before hospice) improves mood and quality of life — and may help people live longer.
Hospice and palliative care are often talked about as if they are the same thing, but they're not. Hospice is for people who are expected to live for a short time (usually defined as six months or less) who have agreed to stop getting treatment aimed at prolonging life. Palliative care is medical care that aims to relieve pain or suffering and, more generally, to improve a person's quality of life during a serious illness. Palliative care is certainly a major component of hospice care, especially the efforts to relieve pain, but it's not limited to hospice. People who are actively being treated for a disease can receive palliative care at any stage of their illness.
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.