Palliative Care Services Maintain High-Quality of Life for Patients

Palliative Care ServicesMany people mistakenly believe that palliative care services are only indicated when someone can’t be cured. But, it’s so much more than that. Palliative care works to maintain a high quality of life for patients by assisting with pain management and social support.

The ultimate goal of palliative care services is to improve the quality of life for the patient and family. And research even shows that people live longer if they have received palliative care in addition to other treatments for their illness.

In fact, palliative care services actually help patients recover from their illnesses by relieving symptoms such as anxiety, pain or loss of appetite. Especially helpful during difficult medical treatments, such as chemotherapy, palliative care is for patients of any age, at any stage of their illness.

CoC Standard 2.4: Palliative Care Services

The Commission on Cancer’s (CoC) Cancer Program Standards: Ensuring Patient-Centered Care (2016 Edition) encompasses the requirements cancer programs must meet to earn and maintain CoC accreditation, including palliative care services.

As stated in Standard 2.4, palliative care services are available to patients either on-site or by referral. But to work most effectively, palliative care services should embrace a multidisciplinary team approach including the palliative doctor, nurse navigators, mental health professionals, spiritual counselors, social workers and other medical or nonmedical professionals and volunteers.

A member of the palliative care team is a required member of the cancer committee when these services are provided at the facility.  The Cancer Committee identifes which palliative services are offered on-site or by referral. To gain and maintain accreditation, each calendar year, the program must fulfill compliance criteria which includes making palliative care service available to patients either on-site or by referral.

Palliative Care Services vs Hospice

Hospice is a specific type of palliative care for patients who likely have six months or less to live. For those whom a cure is no longer possible, hospice care is about offering control, dignity and comfort during the time they have left. Hospice also offers grief therapy and support for loved ones.

Palliative care services and hospice services are similar in that the objective of both is provide comfort care and aim to provide symptom relief and reduce stress for the patient and the family.

While they are similar, there are some important differences:

Palliative Care Services

  • Paid by insurance or self
  • Comfort for patients at any stage of disease, with or without curative intent
  • Occur at the same time as curative treatments
  • Typically take place in a hospital

Hospice Care Services

  • Paid by Medicaid, Medicare or insurance
  • Comfort for those with a prognosis of six months or less to live
  • Excludes curative treatment
  • Typically takes place wherever the patient calls “home”

ONCO, Your Total Solution Provider

As your total-solution oncology registry software provider, ONCO offers only the best in unparalleled customer support, consulting services and innovative technology infrastructure. Learn more about our full suite of registry solutions to help your organization gain and maintain CoC accreditation.

Nobody helps you do more with data than ONCO. Contact the experts at ONCO for more information: 800-604-7538 or by email at

More blogs by ONCO we think you’ll enjoy:

Did you miss our recent ONCO webinar? Don’t worry—you can always watch the recording!