Hospices began in the Middle Ages as places of comfort and caring for weary travelers, and today they provide services to people on the journey to the end of life. The philosophy of “caring, not curing” articulated by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) recognizes that dying is unavoidable, but that dying alone or in physical, emotional, or spiritual distress is not. Hospices support patients in the last stages of illness and provide support and bereavement services for caregivers and families. NHPCO estimates that approximately 42 percent of all deaths in the United States currently occur under hospice care, with a median length of care of 20 days. The hospice philosophy of facing death as a normal part of the life cycle is ...

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