THE TERM "hospice" has become part of the language of US medicine in the past few years, signifying a system of care for the dying cancer patient. As it applies to medical caring, hospice emphasizes a systematic application of symptom relief, palliative comforting measures for patients and families whether in an institutional or in a home setting. The emergence of this emphasis on late-stage care has filled a void in the total strategy for cancer care and education, which has tended to emphasize the disease process and treatments appropriate for cure or prolonged life. Hospice-type care has resulted in improved service-directed concern for terminally ill cancer patients treated in the hospital and in community-based oncological practices.
Background of the Hospice Philosophy
The word "hospice" derives from a medieval French designation for places of rest constructed in out-of-the-way sites to house-wandering pilgrims and men-at-arms journeying to the Middle East and the