Get Adobe Flash player

Hospice Defined Today

Hospice care today really does depend on the area to which you live and what is available in that catchment area.  It is different from province to province and city to city. For the most part Hospice Care can be defined as - Care designed to give supportive care to people in the final phase of a terminal illness and focus on comfort and quality of life, rather than cure. 

The goal is to enable patients to be comfortable and free of pain, so that they live each day as fully as possible. Aggressive methods of pain control may be used. Hospice programs generally are home-based, but they sometimes provide services away from home -- in freestanding facilities, in nursing homes, or within hospitals. The philosophy of hospice is to provide support for the patient's emotional, social, and spiritual needs as well as medical symptoms as part of treating the whole person.

Hospice programs generally use a multidisciplinary team approach, including the services of a nurse, doctor, social worker and clergy in providing care. Additional services provided include drugs to control pain and manage other symptoms; physical, occupational, and speech therapy; medical supplies and equipment; medical social services; dietary and other counseling; continuous home care at times of crisis; and bereavement services. Although hospice care does not aim for cure of the terminal illness, it may treat potentially curable conditions such as pneumonia and bladder infections, with brief hospital stays if necessary. Hospice programs also offer respite care workers, people who are usually trained volunteers, who take over the patient's care so that the family or other primary caregivers can leave the house for a few hours. Volunteer care is part of hospice philosophy.

A residential hospice can be defined as a home-like environment where adults and children with life-threatening illness receive end-of-life care services.  A residential hospice provides individuals who cannot be cared for at home with compassionate care and comfort in the last stages of their lives.

A community hospice can be defined as  hospices  that provide programs and services that enhance the quality of life for individuals living with a life threatening illness and still reside in their homes in the community. Community hospices do not have beds for end of life care and residential hospices do.