By 2030, over 70 million people in the United States will be age 65 or older. This scenario has cause for concern, as many elderly individuals require specialized care. Some of the most common types are palliative care and hospice care. Not everyone understands the differences between the two, though. Let’s explore the palliative and hospice qualifications.

Palliative Criteria

This type of care can occur at any time. It’s left up to the discretion of the physician and patient.

The stage of illness is also irrelevant. Palliative care is specifically meant to comfort and alleviate symptoms.

For instance, palliative care could include methods to improve mental health in a patient with a debilitating illness. A more concrete example would be caring for someone who has been immobilized from a stroke. Palliative care typically occurs in a hospital setting.

Hospice Qualifications

In contrast, hospice care criteria are a bit more rigid. At least two physicians must certify that a patient has less than six months to live if their disease progresses at a normal rate.

Hospice care is not meant to be curative, as terminal illnesses can only be managed instead of successfully treated. Unlike palliative care, hospice care can occur wherever the patient feels most comfortable. As such, most people receive hospice care in their own homes.


When it comes to palliative care, patients typically pay through their insurance. However, there are scenarios where self-pay is required.

For those who need hospice services, Medicare, Medicaid, and insurance coverage will handle it. Regardless of which situation you’re in, you shouldn’t have a difficult time minimizing your personal costs. It’s important to take the necessary steps to do so, as medical expenses often prove to be substantial.

Common Palliative Care Medical Conditions

There are many different conditions that require palliative care. Some are more serious than others. Listed below are the most notable.

Kidney Failure

Kidney failure often comes with significant pain and lifestyle changes. However, it’s possible to treat.

Until the condition is resolved, many patients require palliative care to help them adjust. Palliative care for this condition is often extensive due to how long it takes to treat.


Those who have HIV or AIDS may have trouble adjusting to their condition. Due to their compromised immune systems, these patients have to be much more vigilant when it comes to protecting themselves from viruses and bacteria.

A diagnosis of these conditions can also take a major toll on mental health since they are incurable. With the right treatment, though, people can live a fairly normal life.


Not all types of cancer are fatal. Many have long-term complications, however.

Palliative care is a great way for people to manage a cancer diagnosis and the issues that come with it. For example, some cancers require partial or entire amputation of a limb.

Common Hospice Medical Conditions

There’s a handful of major conditions that require hospice care. These often come with major complications that eventually lead to a terminal diagnosis. Let’s explore them below.


Late-stage Alzheimer’s can be highly debilitating and will eventually lead to the patient’s death. As the disease progresses, patients can have difficulty swallowing, leading to severe gastric issues. Hospice care can go a long way in terms of preserving the quality of life.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

This is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks the nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain. Patients typically lose control over different parts of the body, making it impossible to care for themselves.

Receiving hospice care will ensure that you can handle everyday tasks, such as eating and bathing. Having access to emotional support can also make the situation easier to manage.


Cancer comes in different forms, and many are severe. Those with a late-stage cancer diagnosis may find it difficult to function on their own.

This is especially true if they also receive chemo treatment during this time. Although chemo treatment is generally used as an attempt to cure cancer, those in hospice care might choose chemo to preserve their quality of life.

For instance, there may be a tumor applying pressure to certain areas of the body, leading to constant pain. Chemotherapy can shrink this tumor and alleviate this issue.

Heart Disease

Advanced coronary disease is one of the most common reasons for cardiac-related hospice care. This occurs when previous conventional methods of treatment have failed to cure heart conditions.

Hospice care is also appropriate when the patient chooses not to pursue advanced or specialized treatment. This form of treatment is often expensive and comes with many complications. So, some individuals forego this opportunity.


Parkinson’s disease leads to a significant decline in motor skills during its later stages. In some situations, the patient may have trouble retaining consciousness.

Some people slip into a coma or persistent vegetative state. In scenarios like these, hospice care can help minimize the complications.

Finding a Solution

Regardless of what type of care you receive, it’s essential to research your potential provider. Look at their past reputation to gain insight into what you can expect. You should also ensure they offer treatment options you’re comfortable with.

Take Action Today

If you or a loved one requires specialized care, be sure to understand the palliative and hospice qualifications. This will help determine the best course of action.

Get in touch with a representative today at Royal Garden Board & Care Homes. Our community strives to provide the best possible quality of life to residents.