What is hospice care?

Hospice care seeks to improve the quality of life and wellbeing of adults and children with a life-limiting or terminal illness, helping them live as fully as they can for the precious time they have left. It aspires to be accessible to all who could benefit and reflect personal preferences and needs.

Hospices offer wide-ranging, personalised care which is provided by a versatile team of different professional staff and volunteers. As well as taking care of people's physical needs, they also look after their emotional, spiritual and social needs. They also support carers, family members and close friends, both during a person's illness and during bereavement.

Hospice care is free for everyone, and is provided for however long it is needed, which could be days, weeks or even months.

Hospice services

Hospices provide a range of services which include:

  • pain and symptom control
  • psychological and social support
  • rehabilitation
  • complementary therapies, such as massage and aromatherapy
  • counselling
  • spiritual care
  • practical and financial advice
  • support in bereavement.

Where is care provided?

Hospice care is provided in a wide range of settings, not just hospice buildings. These include day services, care homes and people’s own homes. The vast majority of hospice care is provided in people’s homes. 

Hospice care booklet

Our ‘What is hospice care?’ booklet answers questions on all aspects of hospice care, including how referrals are made.

  • What is hospice care?
    If you, or someone close to you, have a life-limiting or terminal illness, you may have questions about the care you can get and what it involves. We aim to answer those questions in this booklet.

Find your local hospice

Search for hospices in your local area using our online hospice finder.

What does hospice care mean to you?