Hospice care provides compassionate care for people in the last phases of incurable disease so that they may live as fully and comfortably as possible. Learn what's included in hospice care, what to expect, and how to find the right provider.
When should hospice care start?
Hospice care is used when a disease, such as advanced cancer, gets to the point when treatment can no longer cure or control it. In general, hospice care should be used when a person is expected to live about 6 months or less if the illness runs its usual course. People with advanced cancer should have a discussion with their family members and doctor to decide together when hospice care should begin.
Studies show hospice care often is not started soon enough. Sometimes the doctor, patient, or family member will resist hospice because they think it means "giving up" or that there's no hope. It's important to know that you can leave hospice and go into active cancer treatment any time you want. But the hope that hospice brings is a quality life, making the best of each day during the last stages of advanced illness.