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Hospice vs. Palliative Care: What’s the Difference?

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When facing the challenges of a serious or terminal illness, the terms "hospice care" and "palliative care" can be confusing and scary. But rest assured, these two types of care are all about providing compassionate support and enhancing the quality of life for patients and their families.

Understanding the differences between hospice and palliative care can help patients and their loved ones make informed decisions about the most appropriate care options. Let's dig into what sets hospice and palliative care apart.

Palliative care: Nurturing comfort and relief

Palliative care is like a gentle hug during tough times. It focuses on alleviating pain and symptoms associated with serious illnesses, regardless of the stage of the disease. Palliative care is not limited to end-of-life situations and can be provided alongside treatments aimed at curing the illness. The primary mission of the palliative care team is to nurture the patient’s comfort and well-being.

The palliative care team includes doctors, nurses, social workers and specialists. These individuals all come together to support the patient and their family in every way possible. They will:

  • Listen to and address needs
  • Manage pain
  • Address emotional concerns
  • Help patients cope with challenges that come their way

It's all about surrounding patients with warmth and care wherever they’re at in their journey.

Hospice care: Embracing peace and dignity

As someone nears the end of their life, hospice care offers peace and dignity. This specialized form of care is designed for individuals with life-limiting illnesses who have decided to focus on quality of life rather than seeking further curative treatments. Like a loving embrace, hospice care aims to provide comfort and support in the final stage of life.

At Aspirus St. Luke's Hospice Duluth®, the team is made up of compassionate experts who are dedicated to making this time as comforting as possible for patients and their loved ones. This team will:

  • Manage pain and symptoms
  • Offer emotional and spiritual support
  • Promote and maintain dignity

Whether care is received at home or at St. Luke’s as an inpatient, the healthcare team will be there every step of the way.

Hospice and palliative care at St. Luke’s

At Aspirus St. Luke's, both hospice and palliative care are available, tailored to meet each patient’s unique needs and circumstances. Our dedicated care team is here to help patients and their families understand the differences and guiding them through the decision-making process.

We deeply care about each patient and are committed to providing compassionate, personalized care that ensures their comfort, dignity and well-being.

Both palliative and hospice care require a referral. Learn more at or by calling 218.249.6100.