NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer, Version 1.2017
Thinking about the unthinkable
What is hospice care? | Review
What is hospice care?
Hospice is a type of care designed to provide medical,
psychological, and spiritual support to terminally ill
patients and the people who love them. The goal is
comfort, not a cure. Many insurance plans will only
cover hospice services if your doctor has said that
your are likely to live 6 months or less and you will not
be receiving treatment designed to cure cancer.
Of note, some forms of treatment may still be
covered if they are being prescribed to relieve pain or
symptoms. Be sure to talk with your doctor and your
insurance company to clear up these issues before
making your decision.
Hospice care is all about your quality of life. Services
can be provided in your home, a hospice facility,
or even in the hospital. A major goal is to keep you
pain-free and make sure that you can leave this world
comfortably and with dignity. Hospice doctors, nurses,
social workers, and chaplains are experts in helping
patients work through the spiritual and emotional
challenges of coping with the end of life.
Because hospice care is focused on making you as
comfortable as possible, the hospice team may stop
medicines that aren’t adding anything to your overall
quality of life. The goal is to ensure that you don’t
have to take any more pills or injections than are
Providing support for family members is a major part
of the hospice approach to end-of-life care. Most
programs offer counseling and support groups for
family members, including support after the patient
has died. This is referred to as bereavement. It can
be enormously comforting to know that your loved
ones will have that kind of support after you are gone.
• Advance care planning is all about making sure
that your end-of-life wishes are understood and
• You will fill out a legal document that lays out
what you want done if you aren’t able to tell the
doctors yourself (advance directive).
• Your advance directive should also identify a
person who is authorized to make decisions
on your behalf (health care proxy) it you can’t
• People find different ways to cope when their time
• Hospice is a type of care designed to provide
medical, psychological, and spiritual support to
terminally ill patients and the people who love
• Providing support for family members is a major
part of the hospice approach to end-of-life care.