Much of the “confusion” Sinclair referred to is that many people don’t understand the difference between palliative care and hospice.
Palliative care is given to patients with serious illnesses or injuries to relieve their symptoms and stress. Its goal is to improve the quality of life for patients and their families. It can be provided from the onset of an illness, and is often delivered by a team of doctors, nurses, social workers and sometimes chaplains.
Patients in hospice are not expected to live long, usually six months or less. Hospice patients do receive palliative care, but you don’t have to be in hospice to be a palliative care patient.
Even if death is not imminent, palliative care may be the best strategy for patients whose top priority is maximizing quality of life, not extending it by any means necessary.