Hospice Care


Hospice is a concept of care that involves health professionals and volunteers who provide medical, psychological and spiritual support to terminally ill patients and their loved ones. Hospice stresses quality of life - peace, comfort and dignity. A principal aim of hospice is to control pain and other symptoms so the patient can remain as alert and comfortable as possible. Hospice services are available to persons who can no longer benefit from curative treatment; the typical hospice patient has a life expectancy of 6 months or less. Hospice programs provide services in various settings: the home, hospice centers, hospitals, or skilled nursing facilities. Patients' families are also an important focus of hospice care and services are designed to provide them with the assistance and support they need.

Palliative Care

Hospice and palliative care are sometimes used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. Palliative care, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), provides for the treatment of the discomfort, symptoms and stress of serious illness. It does not replace your primary treatment. The goal is to ease your discomfort from the symptoms of your illness and improve your quality of life. Receiving palliative care does not necessarily mean you're dying.

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) says the term palliative care has come to mean more than just treating symptoms. Palliative care now often refers to a comprehensive approach to improving the quality of life for people who are living with potentially fatal diseases. It provides support for more than just the patients, but for family members as well, very similar to the more familiar concept of hospice care.

For more information on Hospice and Palliative Care, please click here.