There are many different types of care and treatment that are available when you or a loved one is diagnosed with cancer. However, when treatment is no longer of benefit, or there are no further treatment options available, your doctor may speak to you about hospice care.

Hospice offers care to people who are terminally ill and may no longer wish to undergo treatment. The focus of hospice care is to ensure quality of life at the end of life by addressing a person’s physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

This fact sheet answers some commonly asked questions about hospice care.

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Who provides hospice care?

Hospice care can be provided by members of a person’s health care team:

  • Primary care physicians and hospice nurses, who have been specially trained to meet the medical needs of a person who is facing a terminal illness

  • Oncology social workers, who provide emotional support and counseling and may specialize in end-of-life care

  • Chaplains and spiritual advisors, who provide guidance and support surrounding spiritual concerns

  • Home health aides, who can assist with practical tasks such as bathing or dressing

  • Volunteers who can help with day-to-day tasks such as grocery shopping or housekeeping

What services are offered?

The various members of your hospice team may provide:

  • Medication to relieve the discomfort caused by nausea, pain, or shortness of breath.

  • Medical supplies and equipment such as oxygen, a hospital bed, or a walker.

  • Emotional support.

  • Spiritual support.

  • Respite care, which can provide a short-term break for the caregiver and family.

  • Assistance with day-to-day tasks of caring for a person receiving hospice care.

  • Bereavement counseling to the family members of the loved one.

This article originally appeared on ONA