Patient-defined factors that are important at the end of life include being physically independent for as long as possible, good symptom control, and spending quality time with friends and family. Hospice care adds to the quality of care and these patient-centered priorities for people with cancer and their families in the last weeks and days of life. Evidence from large observational studies demonstrate that hospice care can improve outcomes directly and support better and more appropriate health care use for people in the last stages of cancer. Team-based community hospice care has measurable benefits for patients, their family caregivers, and health services. In addition to improved symptom control for patients and a greater likelihood of time spent at home, caregiver outcomes are better when hospice care is accessed: informational needs are better met, and caregivers have an improved ability to move on with life after the patient’s death compared with people who did not have access to these services. Hospice care continues to evolve as its reach expands and the needs of patients continue to broaden. This is reflected in the transition from hospice being based on excellence in nursing to teams with a broad range of health professionals to meet the complex and changing needs of patients and their families. Additional integration of cancer services with hospice care will help to provide more seamless care for patients and supporting family caregivers during their caregiving and after the death of the patient.
- patient-centered priorities
- Team-based community hospice care
- caregiver outcomes