What is a Hospice?

Hospice, sometimes called palliative care, is a special kind of care designed to provide sensitivity and support for individuals experiencing cancer or other life-threatening illness and their families. Rather than a place, hospice is a philosophy – a program of care and support wherever there is a need.

Hospice palliative care began for those who had advanced illness when a cure was no longer sought. The goal of care was to help people remain pain-free and alert, so the remainder of their lives would be spent with dignity and comfort.

Today, hospice palliative care recognizes the need to provide information and support early ~ at the very difficult time when a diagnosis of a life-threatening illness is given. People need honest information and a variety of supports and assistance in accessing health and home care services. Many life-threatening illnesses have become chronic in nature and people, with support and treatment, are able to manage their disease and extend their quality of life.


A team of family, friends, health care professionals and volunteers provide the care by working together to provide options for care and to sensitively meet choices and needs. Daily, we seek to identify what is important to each person that day, and to make those the priority of care.


Good hospice palliative care involves meeting physical, emotional and spiritual needs of individuals, including the need to:

  • Be pain-free
  • Maintain independence and control over their lives
  • Participate in decisions concerning their care
  • Have questions answered honestly
  • Know they are not alone
  • Be heard and have emotional support
  • Have the quality of life that they choose
  • Be free of other people’s judgments
  • Validate their lives
  • Be cared for by caring, sensitive people