Hospice and palliative care regards dying as a natural process. The goal of hospice and palliative care is to achieve the best possible quality of life through relief of suffering, control of symptoms, and restoration of functional capacity while remaining sensitive to personal, cultural and religious values, beliefs and practices.
What is hospice and palliative care?
- Hospice is a type of care that offers people care, chosen by them, at the end of their life. To be eligible for hospice, a patient must have a life-limiting terminal illness that puts their life expectancy within six months or less. In Florida, some private pay insurers allow for a year or less.
- Palliative care can offer some of the same types of services that hospice does, but it is provided to everyone, no matter the diagnosis or life expectancy.
The intensity and range of hospice and palliative interventions may increase as illness progresses and the complexity of care and needs of the patients and their families increase. Care priorities shift to focus on end-of-life decision making and to support physical comfort and a death, consistent with the values and expressed desires of the patient. Hospice and palliative care guides patients and families as they address issues of life completion and closure.
The highly specialized and unique array of hospice and palliative care services creates an environment which encourages the patient to express what is in the heart, focus on love and forgiveness, and on life’s meaning and purpose. When things need to be said, issues resolved and dreams fulfilled, hospice will be there for you.
Hospice and/or palliative care can be obtained by either contacting the patient’s general physician and discussing whether or not these services are an appropriate choice for the patient, or contacting the local hospice and requesting a hospice needs assessment. If the patient’s county of residence has more than one hospice to chose from, visit the Choosing a Hospice page for ideas how to select a hospice that will best suit the patient’s needs.