Rather than a place to receive curative medical care, hospice is an approach to medical care for patients nearing the end of life. Its goal is to enhance the quality of life for patients with terminal illness.
Hospice focuses on pain management and symptom relief while addressing the patient’s emotional, social and spiritual needs as well as those of family members. Hospice lets patients and families share the “end-of-life” experience with dignity and, in most cases, in the comfort of their own homes.
Each person entering a hospice program gets an individualized care plan. This plan is developed by a team of professionals and trained volunteers working with the patient and family members. Depending on the patient’s needs, the team may consist of the patient’s primary care physician, a hospice physician (or medical director), nurses, home health aides, social workers, clergy, trained volunteers and speech, physical and occupational therapists.