Who provides hospice care?
Hospice care can be provided by independent hospices, or through programs based in hospitals, nursing homes, or other health care systems.
In most cases, an interdisciplinary health care team manages hospice care. Typically, the hospice doctor or medical director is in charge of your care, though your cancer doctor and/or primary care doctor can be involved, too. Doctors, nurses, social workers, counselors, home health aides, clergy, therapists, and trained volunteers care for you and your family. Together, they give you and your loved ones complete palliative (supportive) care aimed at relieving symptoms and giving social, emotional, and spiritual support. Hospice care staff members are typically kind and caring. They communicate well, are good listeners, and want to work with families who are coping with a life-threatening illness. They are usually specially trained in the unique issues surrounding death and dying and provided with ongoing education and support to help with the emotional demands of the job.
Hospice volunteers play an important role in planning and giving hospice care in the United States. Volunteers may be health professionals or lay people who provide services that range from hands-on care to working in the hospice office or fundraising.
Last Medical Review: 04/08/2014
Last Revised: 04/08/2014