Nov 30, 2020 10:00 AM

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Palliative care and hospice care often get confused with each other. While both are types of supportive care that help with symptom relief, they are different services and apply to different situations. Whether you need palliative care or hospice care, Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) can help you access these services to improve your quality of life as you go through cancer.

What is palliative care?

Palliative care, also called palliative medicine, is supportive care for anyone with a chronic illness who wants help managing symptoms and improving quality of life. The goal of palliative care is to provide relief from the symptoms and stress of the illness. Anyone with a chronic condition, such as cancer, can benefit from palliative care.

What is hospice care?

Hospice care is for people nearing the end of life because of an incurable disease. This type of specialized care provides symptom relief so patients may live as comfortably as possible during that time. Patients and caregivers can also receive emotional support while the patient is on hospice care.

Should I get palliative care or hospice care?

The table below lists the benefits of palliative care and hospice care so you and your family can make the best decision for your situation.


Palliative Care

Hospice Care

Who is eligible?

Anyone with a chronic illness

Those with a life expectancy of 6 months or less

Do I need a doctor’s referral?

No. Call 801-213-4246 to get more information.

Yes. Talk with your doctor about options.

Can I receive this care at Huntsman Cancer Institute?

Yes. Our Supportive and Oncology Survivorship program can help with this.

No, most of the time hospice is done at home.

Is it covered by insurance?



Can I still take treatment medications while participating?

Yes. Palliative care can happen at the same time as treatment.

No. While on hospice care, you only take medicine for comfort and pain relief.

How can I learn more about palliative care and hospice?

HCI’s Supportive Oncology and Survivorship (SOS) team provides support to patients during and after cancer treatment. The SOS team works with patients to help improve quality of life throughout the cancer journey.

You can also talk to our cancer information specialists if you have questions about palliative care, hospice care, end of life resources, or anything else related to cancer. Contact our cancer information specialists at the G. Mitchell Morris Cancer Learning Center:

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Cancer touches all of us.

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