Literal meaning “a place of shelter.” Today it refers to supportive care of a terminally ill patient. A program which provides palliative and supportive care for terminally ill patients and their families, either directly or on a consulting basis with the patient’s physician or another community agency. Originally a medieval name for a way station for crusaders where they could be replenished, refreshed, and cared for, hospice is used here for an organized program of care for people going through life’s “last station.” The whole family is considered the unit of care, and care extends through their period of mourning.

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