For many people, hospice represents an important choice: allowing more autonomy and choice in directing final medical care than traditional treatment that focuses on life-saving procedures and cures. But it is not the best fit for all patients — particularly those who feel strongly that hospice care signifies “giving up on life” rather than facilitating a good death.
Hospice may be most fitting for those who want to:
- Be treated at home or in a homelike setting and avoid hospital admissions
- Focus on managing symptoms and controlling pain rather than on curing their illness
- Have the help of a team of people to assist with their comfort care and emotional and spiritual needs
Hospice care is probably not a good choice for those who:
- Find that working with a number of different health care workers is cumbersome
- Wish to pursue experimental treatments or clinical trials
- Are more comfortable receiving medical care in a traditional hospital setting
The patient and medical practitioners familiar with the patient should decide together whether hospice care meets an individual’s personal, physical, and medical needs. It may also be important to get input from family members and friends who may be responsible for providing some of the hospice care.
For more about choosing hospice care, see the consumer resources published by: