What Is Hospice?

Hospice is a philosophy of care. The hospice philosophy recognizes death as the final stage of life and seeks to enable patients to continue an alert, pain-free life and to manage other symptoms so that their last days may be spent with dignity and quality, surrounded by their loved ones.

Hospice affirms life and does not hasten or postpone death. Hospice care treats the person rather than the disease; it highlights quality rather than length of life. It provides family-centered care involving the patient and family in making decisions. Care is provided for the patient and family 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Hospice care can be given in the patient's home, a hospital, nursing home, or private hospice facility. Most hospice care in the United States is given in the home, with a family member or members serving as the main hands-on caregiver.

Once a patient is admitted onto hospice services, the patient is usually assigned a qualified team consisting of a:

  • Medical Director
  • Registered Nurse
  • Certified Nursing Assistant
  • Social Worker
  • Chaplain
  • Volunteer

This qualified team comes into the patient's home or healthcare center or assisted living facility and takes the holistic approach of providing care, by keeping the patient comfortable physically, spiritually, and emotionally.