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Making Care Decisions

Options for Care for Progressive Illness

Below are some options for care of a loved one with progressive illness. (Links to

Palliative Care

Palliative care focuses on the physical, psychosocial, and spiritual concerns of patients with life-threatening illnesses at any phase of their disease.

End-of-Life Care

Some of the biggest concerns for the patient at the end of life revolve around fears of suffering, loss of dignity, and causing family members distress. It is important to recognize that you and your loved one have options that can help make the end of life less stressful.


Hospice is generally not a specific place--it is a specialized program of care for patients with a limited life expectancy. With its comprehensive array of medical and social services, hospice strives to meet each patient's unique physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs, as well as those of the patient's family and close friends. The goals of hospice are to help the patient have as good a quality of life as possible, and to assist caregivers in their efforts to keep their loved ones at home. This includes keeping the patient as comfortable as possible by relieving pain and other uncomfortable symptoms, preparing for a death that follows the wishes and needs of the patient, and reassuring both the patient and family members by helping them understand and manage the patient's care. This support assists patients and families through the process of facing, understanding and preparing for death.


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