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ANSWERED on Tue 6 Mar 2007 - 7:21 pm UTC by pinkfreud

Question: In-hospital hospice care

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JD Umiat 


 6 Mar 2007 15:46 UTCTue 6 Mar 2007 - 3:46 pm UTC 

 Can a researcher provide some general information on any current trends of hospitals to provide in-hospital hospice care to their dying patients as opposed to sending them home for hospice services if there is no family to help care for them? I am interested in U.S. hospitals, primarily.
 I won't be available to clarify for the next few days, so feel free to provide whatever information you find, even if scarce. Thanks!




 6 Mar 2007 19:21 UTCTue 6 Mar 2007 - 7:21 pm UTC 

Hello, Umiat! I have gathered some information that I hope you will find useful. The subject of hospice care is of great personal interest to me, and this research project was quite edifying.

Palliative care is an option in many U.S. hospitals. This is similar to hospice care, but is somewhat broader in scope, since it may be offered to patients at any stage of illness. Like hospice care, palliative care focuses on relieving pain and reducing stress for patients and their families. The definitions of "hospice care" and "palliative care" overlap, and the terms are sometimes used interchangeably.

"Hospice (or palliative) care for patients with a terminal illness shifts the focus from aggressive treatment to treatment that provides physical comfort, control of symptoms, and general support to the patient and his or her family. The philosophy of hospice is based on a concern for the medical, psychological, and spiritual needs of the patient and the family...

There are three different kinds of hospice care:
At home with backup care in the hospital (the most common kind)
In a freestanding hospice center
In a palliative care unit of a hospital."

Oncology Channel: Hospice Care

"Palliative care... specializes in the relief of the pain, symptoms and stress of serious illness. The goal is to prevent and relieve suffering and to ensure the best possible quality of life for patients and their families. It is appropriate at any stage of an illness and can be provided at the same time as curative treatment...

Palliative care is not the same as hospice care. Palliative care may be provided at any time during a person`s illness, even from the time of diagnosis. Additionally, palliative care may be given alongside curative treatment.

Hospice care always provides palliative care, but is focused on terminally ill patients no longer seeking curative therapies and who have a life expectancy of about six months or less.

What is Palliative Care?

"Defined by the World Health Organization in 1990, palliative care seeks to address not only physical pain, but also emotional, social, and spiritual pain to achieve the best possible quality of life for patients and their families. Palliative care extends the principles of hospice care to a broader population that could benefit from receiving this type of care earlier in their illness or disease process. To better serve individuals who have advanced illness or are terminally ill and their families, many hospice programs encourage access to care earlier in the illness or disease process. Health care professionals who specialize in hospice and palliative care work closely with staff and volunteers to address all the symptoms of illness, with the aim of promoting comfort and dignity."

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

"A study released today in the Journal of Palliative Medicine confirmed that palliative care programs continue to be a rapidly growing trend in U.S. hospitals - a trend widely regarded to be an improvement in the quality of care of advanced, chronic illness. Researchers at the Mount Sinai Medical Center and the American Hospital Association (AHA) report that the number of palliative care programs increased from 632 (15% of hospitals) in 2000 to 1,027 (25% of hospitals) in 2003 - a 63% increase in only three years...

Although growth occurred nationwide, larger hospitals, not-for-profit hospitals, academic medical centers and VA hospitals were more likely to have a program compared to other hospitals. The New England, Pacific, and Mountain regions of the country were also much more likely to have programs. The goal of palliative care is to relieve suffering and ensure the best possible quality of life for people facing advanced chronic and life-threatening illness. It is provided alongside all other appropriate curative treatment."

Center to Advance Palliative Care

"Of the 4,103 hospitals appropriate for palliative care programs (psychiatric and rehab hospitals are excluded):

* 30% have a program

* 50% with over 75 beds have a program

* 70% with over 250 beds have a program

* 57% of hospitals with a cancer program approved by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) have a program

* 75% of Council of Teaching Hospitals (COTH) members have a program

* 46% of hospitals in cities with a population of 1-2.5 million have a program

Larger hospitals, academic medical centers, not-for-profit hospitals (including those affiliated with the Catholic Church) and VA hospitals are significantly more likely to develop palliative care programs as compared to for-profit hospitals."

Medical News Today

The National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization has an online database that can provide contact information of providers (some of which are hospitals or hospital-supported hospice services):

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization Database

The website of the American Board of Hospice & Palliative Medicine offers a physician directory search. You enter a keyword (such as "oncology," "hospice," or "palliative") and choose your search parameters, and the name, institutional affiliation, and contact data of diplomate physicians will be displayed.

American Board of Hospice & Palliative Medicine: Locator

I hope this helps.

Very best regards,


JD Umiat 


 6 Mar 2007 23:49 UTCTue 6 Mar 2007 - 11:49 pm UTC 

Thank you so much, Pink, for an outstanding answer.


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