Palliative Care’s Place in the Care Continuum
When a person is diagnosed with a serious illness or condition, it’s common for patients to follow a standardized process. However, every patient’s plan of care is unique, so it’s important to discuss the best course of treatment with your medical provider.
“We want people to know that we really can make a difference to them and their families. Palliative care is for living, not for dying.” — Dr. Jean Farley, assistant professor at Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies
A patient meets with the medical provider to determine the diagnosis of an illness
Where: primary care practice, hospital, emergency room, or urgent care
- Curative Care1
Medical treatment intended to cure a disease or heal a condition
Where: primary care practice, hospital, emergency room or urgent care, at home
When: After a diagnosis is made, for as long as medical professionals can foresee that a patient’s condition is curable
- Palliative Care1
Symptom relief treatment requested by a patient with a serious condition, and administered by a medical team; intended to improve quality of life, often with pain management
Where: hospital or extended care facility
When: During and after curative care, and continues through end of life care after a terminal diagnosis is made
- End-of-Life Care2
Medical care for patients with terminal diagnoses; intended to help patients die with dignity; includes advance directives
Where: palliative care facility or hospital
When: After curative care or after diagnosis of a terminal illness, in the last year of a patient’s life
- Hospice Care1
Comfort care requested by terminally ill patients or their medical power of attorney; intended to sustain quality of life through pain management; includes 24-hour multispecialty services and family support.
Where: patient’s home or hospice care facility
When: After curative care or after diagnosis of a terminal illness, in the last six months of a patient’s life
Please note that this graphic is for informational purposes only. Individuals should consult their health care professionals before following any of the information provided. Nursing@Georgetown does not endorse any of the organizations or websites contained in this graphic.
- “Medicare Hospice Care: Palliative vs. Curative,” Center for Medicare Advocacy. Accessed Oct. 16, 17. http://www.medicareadvocacy.org/medicare-hospice-care-palliative-vs-curative/
- “What are palliative care and end of life care?” Marie Curie. Accessed Oct. 16, 17. https://www.mariecurie.org.uk/help/support/terminal-illness/diagnosed/palliative-care-end-of-life-care#endoflifecare
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