the practice of hospice and palliative care grows in popularity
internationally, the World Health Organization defines
hospice care as "relief from pain and other distressing
symptoms while regarding dying as a normal process."
Further, hospice care "intends neither to hasten or postpone
death; and integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects
of patient care."
In short, its main
purpose is to improve quality of life in the final days. In practice,
hospice care often provides final stage cancer
patients and terminally ill adults and children with palliative
care, or treatment to help relieve disease-related symptoms
rather than help cure the disease.
from primary medical care, treatment in a hospice facility
focuses on pain management techniques and medications when
necessary. It also often includes psychological counseling
for patients as well as for their families with grief
and bereavement counseling made available after a loved
The advantages of hospice care
Family support and familiar surroundings
are primary benefits of home hospice care.
in quality of life is usually viewed as the main advantage
to hospice care, which is preferred over more institutionalized
care found at modern hospitals.
care is also more family oriented, as it gives more power
to the patient and family in making decisions, and can be administered at home (in the US this is
the most preferred setting), or in a nursing home, assisted
living facility, or private hospital.
US, hospice care is the only Medicare benefit that includes
pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, 24/7 access to care, as
well as support for loved ones following a death. Hospice
care is also covered by Medicaid and most private insurance
In Canada, physician Balfour Mount was the first to coin the term "palliative
care" and was a pioneer in the Canadian hospice movement, which initially focused more on palliative
care in a hospital setting.
More information about hospice & palliative care around the
the Web, find more information on modern hospice care in the
US and worldwide with guides to finding facilities, facts
on palliative care and pain management, along with related
resources for families and caretakers of the terminally ill:
- Wikipedia entry with extensive information on the history
and background of the hospice movement dating back to the
Middle Ages, with facts on modern advancements in the US,
Canada, UK and Africa, and related references and resources.