Where is hospice care provided?

The majority of care provided is to people in their own homes or through visits to the hospice, rather than by just providing beds within a hospice building.

Hospice care in people’s own homes

Many people want to be looked after in their own home. This is made possible by community palliative care nurses and Hospice at Home services, which allow people to receive hospice care in their own home.

Community palliative care nurses offer specialist care including: advice on controlling pain and symptoms; practical advice; and emotional support. They work closely with GPs and other community nurses to plan and deliver care.

Hospices also provide support for carers, for example, through support and information groups, advice and befriending services, or neighbours schemes.

Day care and outpatient services

Day care gives people the chance to spend time in a hospice without being admitted as an inpatient. This can allow them to get the care and support they need while living at home.

The care and support offered may include: medical and nursing care; rehabilitation; creative therapies, such as art therapy and music therapy; and complementary therapies. Day care services also give people the chance to meet other people going through similar experiences.

Increasing numbers of hospices are also offering outpatient services to patients. These services help support people to live as well as possible at home. The range of services may include:

  • consultation appointments with health professionals.
  • access to information and drop-in services.
  • rehabilitation opportunities to help improve a person’s quality of life.

Inpatient units

People may be admitted to an inpatient unit at a hospice for a variety of reasons – for example, it could be to help manage physical symptoms or psychological distress. These units do not provide long-term care beds.

Some people are admitted to a hospice or palliative care inpatient unit at an early stage of their illness for a short period of intensive care, for example 10 to 14 days.

Once the specialist level of care is no longer needed, and following an assessment of a person’s care needs they will return home with appropriate support or transfer to another care setting such as a care home.

People may also be admitted to a hospice in their last days of life when their care needs are complex or intensive support is required.

I’d like to know more

The organisations and resources listed below can help you find out more about planning for end of life and hospice and palliative care.

Dying Matters

Dying Matters aims to help people talk more openly about dying, death and bereavement, and to make plans for the end of life. They present useful information on subjects including making plans, writing wills, bereavement, talking to children about death and avoiding misconceptions about dying. All the leaflets are freely available to download and print from their website.

Care for children and young people

Together for Short Lives is a UK-wide charity that speaks out for all children and young people who are expected to have short lives. The Together for Short Lives Charter sets out what families should expect to receive from their local children’s palliative care services in terms of information and support.

What does hospice care mean to you?