Cancer Institute A national cancer institute
designated cancer center

Hospice Care For Persons With Cancer

What is hospice care?

Hospice is a type of palliative care that provides services to improve the quality of life for the patient and family. The word "hospice" literally means "a place of shelter." Hospice settings and home-hospice care provide extensive services to terminally ill patients. Care usually involves relieving symptoms and providing psychological and social support. To qualify for hospice care, a patient usually has a life expectancy of less than six months. The hospice philosophy provides for the spiritual and cultural needs of the patient and family. The goal of hospice care is to provide the terminally ill patient peace, comfort, and dignity.

Research has shown that hospice care at home helps a family as a whole. In addition to being in the comfort of the home, family members can also take an active role in providing supplemental, supportive care to the patient. Hospice often includes an extensive multi-disciplinary team available for care, including physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, home care aids, trained volunteers, pharmacists, and bereavement counselors.

Settings for hospice care:

Although most patients receive hospice care at home, hospice care can also take place in other settings, including:

What are the different types of hospice care services?

Hospice care, unlike home health care, provides treatment to manage pain and symptoms associated with a terminal illness. In addition, hospice care gives support - emotionally, spiritually, and socially to the patient and the family. The goal of hospice is to provide comfort and care, not "cure" the illness or disease, like home health care. Types of hospice care services provided depend on the patient's needs and preferences. Services may include:

Stanford Medicine Resources:

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