Hospice and end-of-life planning

Caregiver icon

The end-of-life experience is unique to each individual. Any care plan should meet the patient's and family's needs. Discussion of the care plan and its goals should include the patient, family, and decision-maker as appropriate.

These discussions can be challenging and there may be differing viewpoints among the patient, family, and health care providers.

Health care providers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center believe their obligation is to the patient. All decisions will be based on the best interest of the patient and the patient's expressed desires.

Hospice care

Hospice care is designed for people who are in the last six months of their life and who are not receiving treatment aimed at curing their disease or prolonging their life. Usually hospice care is provided in your home by your own caregiver (such as a family member) along with regular visits from a hospice team (specialized nurses, social workers, chaplains, and volunteers).

Palliative care

Palliative care is focused on the prevention and relief of suffering, and to support the best possible quality of life for patients and their families, regardless of the stage of their disease. Palliative care can be given during curative, life-prolonging or end of life care.

The Fred Hutch Supportive and Palliative Care team can help you decide if and when it is right to enroll in hospice. We can also assist with referrals to hospice care and provide ongoing coordination of care with the hospice team.

End-of-life care and planning

End-of-life care is given at the last phases of life where comfort measures are designed to relieve pain or discomfort. The goals of comfort care are to optimize comfort and dignity as defined by the patient and supported by the family and surrogate decision-maker.

Resources for end-of-life planning

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

Fred Hutch Advance Care Planning Page 

Caregiver A person who gives care to people who need help, such as children, older people or patients who have chronic illnesses or disabilities. A person who gives care to people who need help taking care of themselves, such as children, older people or patients who have chronic illnesses or disabilities. Caregivers may be health professionals, family members, friends, social workers or members of the clergy. They may give care at home, in a hospital or in another health care setting. Stage The extent of a cancer in the body. Staging is usually based on the size of the tumor, whether lymph nodes contain cancer and whether the cancer has spread from the original site to other parts of the body.