A: First, let us clear up a common misperception. Hospice is not a place. It is a type of care. It may be provided in your own home, a hospice facility, a nursing home, or some hospitals. Hospice provides end-of-life care, comfort care, and/or palliative care. It does not hasten death or postpone death. Instead, it ensures the dying person is as comfortable as possible. Most hospice workers are excellent at pain management and provide the patient with as much dignity as possible.
Hospice workers also help families deal with the impending death of their loved one.
At some point, it may not be possible to cure a serious illness, or a patient may choose not to undergo certain treatments. Hospice is designed for this situation. The patient beginning hospice care understands that his or her illness is not responding to medical attempts to cure it or to slow the disease’s progress.
Like palliative care, hospice provides comprehensive comfort care as well as support for the family, but, in hospice, attempts to cure the person’s illness are stopped. Hospice is provided for a person with a terminal illness whose doctor believes he or she has 6 months or less to live if the illness runs its natural course.