The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) define palliative care as, treatment that enhances comfort and improves the quality of the individual’s life during the last phase of life. No specific therapy is excluded from consideration.
The test of palliative care lies in the agreement between the individual, physician(s), primary caregiver, and the hospice team that the expected outcome is relief from distressing symptoms, the easing of pain, and or the enhancing the quality of life. The decision to intervene with active palliative care is based on an ability to meet stated goals rather than affect the underlying disease. An individual’s needs must continue to be assessed and all treatment options explored and evaluated in the context of the individual’s values and symptoms. The individual’s choices and decisions regarding care are paramount and must be followed at all times.
Hospice provides support and care for persons in the last phases of an incurable disease so that they may live as fully and as comfortable as possible. Hospice recognizes that the dying process is part of the normal process of living and focuses on enhancing the quality of remaining life. Hospice affirms life and neither hastens nor postpones death. Hospice exists in the hope and belief that through appropriate care, and the promotion of a caring community sensitive to their needs that individuals and their families may be free to attain a degree of satisfaction in the preparation of death. Hospice recognizes that human growth and development can be a lifelong process. Hospice seeks to preserve and
promote the inherent potential for growth within individuals and families during the last phases of life. Hospice offers palliative care for all individuals and their families without regard to age, gender, nationality, race, creed, sexual orientation, disability, diagnosis, availability of the primary caregiver, or ability to pay. Hospice programs provide state-of-the-art palliative care and supportive services to individuals at the end of their lives, their family members and significant others, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in both the home and facility-based care settings. Physical, social, spiritual, and emotional care is provided by clinically directed interdisciplinary team consisting of patients and their families, professionals, and volunteers during the:
1. Last stages of illness
2. Dying process
3. Bereavement period