Hospice care refers to providing services that relate to meeting the emotional and physical needs of those facing end of life, for example, someone facing a life-limiting illness or injury, as explained by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. Such compassionate care does not have to be administered in a hospice center or a hospital; in fact, it is commonly done in the patient's home.
Pain and symptom control is one type of service that hospice care offers the terminally ill. The goal of managing these elements is to enable patients to be alert and comfortable so that they may continue to make important decisions that affect their life and that they may stay in control of their life, according to the American Cancer Society.
Hospice care may also involve looking after the spiritual needs of the patient. Caregivers must learn about the patients' religious beliefs and tailor their spiritual support to meet their specific needs.
Hospice care involves providing bereavement care. This means that after a patient's loss, the caregiver is able to arrange for support to be available for the surviving loved ones. For example, it may be necessary to have a member of the clergy or a professional counselor on hand for family and friends during this time of mourning.