Hospice Law and Legal Definition

Hospice is a program or facility that provides special care for people who are near the end of life.

Following is an example of a state statute defining the term, "Hospice" means a specialized form of multidisciplinary health care which is designed to provide palliative care, alleviate the physical, emotional, social and spiritual discomforts of an individual who is experiencing the last phases of life due to the existence of a terminal disease, and to provide supportive care for the primary care giver and the family of the hospice patient, and which meets all of the following criteria:

(1)Considers the patient and the patient's family, in addition to the patient, as the unit of care.

(2)Utilizes a multidisciplinary team to assess the physical, medical, psychological, social, and spiritual needs of the patient and the patient's family.

(3)Requires the multidisciplinary team to develop an overall plan of care and to provide coordinated care, which emphasizes supportive services such as home care, pain control, and limited inpatient services. Limited inpatient services are intended to ensure both continuity of care and appropriateness of services for those patients who cannot be managed at home because of acute complications or the temporary absence of a capable primary care giver.

(4)Provides for the palliative medical treatment of pain and symptoms associated with a terminal illness but does not provide for efforts to cure disease.

(5)Provides for bereavement following death to assist the family to cope with social and emotional needs associated with the death of the patient.

(6)Actively utilizes volunteers in the delivery of hospice services.

(7)To the extent appropriate, based on the medical needs of the patient, provides services in the patient's home or primary place of residence [Cal Health & Saf Code § 1339.31] .