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reviewed 8/14/2018

End-of-life care: True or false?

Do you know the difference between hospice care and palliative care? There's some overlap in the kind of care they provide, so it's easy to confuse the terms. Take this quiz to improve your knowledge about how these valuable services can improve quality of life for people with serious illness.

True or false: Palliative care is only for people who are dying.

False. While hospice is end-of-life care, you can receive palliative care at any time. And you don't have to have a life-threatening illness. It's simply focused on improving your comfort and quality of life—you can have palliative care alongside curative care. In fact, it can help the whole family. And it may provide the best conditions for healing.

True or false: Accepting hospice care mean stopping all medical care.

False. Hospice care is given to people whose chances for recovery are small and whose life expectancy is measured in months rather than years. The focus shifts from cure to comfort. Still, hospice patients receive the medical care they need to manage symptoms.

True or false: Hospice care is only for older people who are dying of age-related illness.

False. Age doesn't matter. Hospice care is open to anyone with a life expectancy of less than 6 months. Whether it's cancer, Alzheimer's or any other terminal illness, hospice is available to ease pain and promote comfort in the final months of life.

True or false: Hospice care and palliative care can be provided wherever the person lives.

True. Both hospice care and palliative care can be provided in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospice centers or a person's own home.

True or false: There is no limit to how long a person can receive hospice care.

True. Although hospice care is for people who are not expected to live longer than 6 months, many people do live longer. Predicting how long someone will live isn't an exact science, and doctors' estimates may fall short. Medicare will continue to pay for hospice as long as the patient's life expectancy is measured in months—even if they live for years.

These are just a few of the facts about types of care that could make life easier for the ill person and their family. Don't be afraid to ask your doctor about palliative or hospice care—it's a decision you can make together.

What is palliative care?

Sources: Administration for Community Living; National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization; National Institute on Aging

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