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What is hospice?

“Hospice” is a word many avoid like a rattlesnake in June. But do we really know what it means?

Hospice is not something to be afraid of, nor does it mean everything we think it does. Let’s look at what hospice care really is, and what it looks like in the context of a nonprofit, faith-based provider like Buckner.

At its core, “hospice” is the term for a care program specifically designed for people experiencing a life-limiting illness. When curative care is no longer beneficial or desired, hospice care focuses on making the patient comfortable, easing pain, addressing relevant symptoms and supporting family members.

Where hospice care takes place varies in every situation, but ultimately happens in a setting with which the patient is most comfortable. Providers meet the patient and family members where they’re at emotionally, spiritually and physically, and commit to walk alongside both parties through expert medical support and compassionate care.

For patients, the goal of hospice care is to encourage lives of purpose, dignity and grace. Hospice patients are often senior adults, but not always.

For families, the goal of hospice care is to provide counseling and support during the transitions inherent with a life-limiting illness.  

Hospice is about celebrating life. Choosing hospice for your loved one means you are choosing to maximize their time on Earth, not end it. Allowing an outside party to take the caregiving burden lets you savor time with your loved one, share memories and have quality conversations without the stress of 24-hour caregiving.

As people who innately love others and fear loss, the term “hospice” can scare us. However, faith-based nonprofit hospice providers like Buckner offer hospice care with an attitude of hope. Hospice is about realizing that hope and joy can-- and do--shine even in the midst of life-limiting illnesses. 

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