Any kind of medical care given with the goal of improving things for a patient with an incurable problem is a form of palliative care. A great deal of cancer treatment, even some forms of cancer chemotherapy, can be palliative care. All forms of pain medication are palliative care. Even counseling for anxiety can be a form of palliative care.

But hospice care is a specific form of palliative care provided to patients with incurable illness when death is expected within six months.