What is hospice and what makes it different?


The philosophy of hospice care is to provide comprehensive services specifically designed to meet the needs of patients who are facing life-limiting illness and those who care for them. While the meaning of hospice has evolved over the years, these basic values have not changed:

  • Hospice affirms life and focuses on helping those with life-limiting illnesses live as fully and as comfortably as possible; it neither hastens nor postpones death.
  • Hospice recognizes dying as a normal process but believes that by providing appropriate care and support, patients and those who care for them are better able to prepare for the end of life mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

To support and uphold these values, hospice has adopted the following philosophy and basic principles:

  • Hospice services are for individuals who have a life-limiting illness and are ready to focus on comfort, rather than on a cure. Though aggressive pursuit of curative measures have been halted, the entire team is attentive to successful management of any symptom which causes distress or discomfort, including but certainly not limited to pain and aggressive management of that pain.
  • Hospice care is based on holistic approach so that whatever the patient or family needs physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually, there is a specially trained professional available to address that need. It has long been realized that this kind of specialized, but comprehensive care is best met by an entire interdisciplinary team, rather than the services of any particular discipline.
  • Hospice services are not for the patient alone; it is for family, friends and caregivers as well. This includes support and education during those last months, as well as bereavement counseling in coping with their loss.
  • Hospice care is most often provided in the home or in a home-like setting, but there is option for inpatient care if it becomes necessary for symptom management for the patient or temporary relief for those who are providing care.

Sometimes patients will improve with this kind of intensive care and support; in which case, we will celebrate your improvement and happily move you back to a lower level of care, such as home health. This is a service which we can also provide for you, sometimes under the care of the same clinicians who have already been treating you.