What is hospice?

Hospice is a philosophy of care focusing on comfort and quality of life at the end of life.

Hospice is medical care for someone of any age who:

  • Has been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness that no longer responds to cure-oriented treatments.
  • Is likely to live six months or less if the disease takes the expected course.
  • Is ready to live more comfortably and stop treatments aimed at prolonging life.

Hospice can help people:

  • Live as well as possible for as long as possible by increasing the quality of their life on their terms. It neither prolongs life nor slows death.
  • Sort out their goals of care and what quality of life means for them.

Hospice provides a team of professionals that offer patient and family support to manage symptoms, coordinate care, help people communicate, and make decisions about their care.

What can hospice help with?

  • Visits to the patient’s location by an interdisciplinary team that may include:
    • Hospice physician
    • Nurse
    • Medical social worker
    • Physical and / or occupational therapist
    • Speech-language pathology services
    • Dietary counseling
    • Home health aide
    • Chaplain or other spiritual adviser
  • Symptom control and pain relief with medication and other services recommended by the hospice team
  • Medical equipment like wheelchairs or walkers, and medical supplies like bandages and catheters
  • Short-term care in the hospital for times when adequate pain and symptom management cannot be achieved in the home setting
  • Temporary relief for caregivers to avoid or address “caregiver burnout”
  • Grief and loss counseling for patient and loved ones

Licensed hospice programs exist throughout Washington State and are available to provide end-of-life care no matter where you live.