What is Hospice?

Hospice is an approach to caring for a patient with a terminal illness. A terminal illness is defined as a condition for which the life expectancy is less than six months. Two physicians must certify that a person has a terminal illness. Licensed hospice programs provide support and comfort to the patient and the family during the final months of life by offering care that relieves pain and other symptoms. The goal is to ensure the patient's remaining time is as free of pain and symptoms as possible.

Hospice care improves the quality of life for the patient by providing an individualized plan of care that focuses on the patient's comfort and dignity. Open communication is encouraged among the patient, family, and hospice facility.

Hospice care can be provided in a variety of setting, including the home, assisted living facility, nursing home, and inpatient hospice facility. Some patients need to move from one setting to another during the course of their care.

All hospice programs provide services to individuals who reside in their own homes, assisted living facility, or nursing homes. Not every program offers care in an inpatient hospice facility. When you are considering a program for yourself or a loved one, ask about inpatient service.