Though this term hospice initially meant a place for the hospice in westminster weary and sick to rest and avail hospitality, it later became a facility which offered special care to the terminally ill. Hospice accepts death as being the final stage of a person’s life and feels that this is when the person should be kept happy and comfortable and not troubled with aggressive treatment. They are not trying to cure the disease. Once a person has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and everything that could be done has been done then there is no point in putting them through more pain and discomfort.
Often people are forced to be put on life support system which tries to prolong life without allowing the person to think for themselves. This is where hospice differs and the patient has a say in his own treatment and can decide on what he wants, especially when the doctors have diagnosed the illness as terminal and there may not have more than six months to live.
Hospice has an approach through support teams which consist of both professionals and volunteers to help the patients. The main care is provided by the medical staff like doctors and nurses and also by counselors and social workers. The medical staff is in charge of relieving the symptoms which are distressing and in pain management while the rest are there to give the patient psychological solace. Death is something which frightens most people and the anxiety and depression of someone who knows that they are at the end of their life with a terminal illness is difficult to cope with.
Most patients receive this care at home with the hospice staff visiting them regularly. If the care for pain management and control of symptoms is something which cannot be given at home then they are admitted to hospitals and nursing homes for brief periods. Getting hospice service is by no means giving up hope, it is just providing a more comfortable way of life for someone who cannot be cured.