[Skip to content]

Help the Hospices
Search our Site

What is hospice care?

A hospice is not just a building, it is a way of caring for people. Hospice care aims to improve the lives of people who have a life-limiting or terminal illness, helping them to live well before they die.

Hospice care not only takes care of people's physical needs, but looks after their emotional, spiritual and social needs as well. It also supports carers, family members and close friends, both during a person's illness and during bereavement.



Hospice care providers offer a range of services, which may include:

  • pain and symptom control
  • psychological and social support
  • palliative rehabilitation - helping patients stay independent
  • complementary therapies, such as massage and aromatherapy
  • spiritual care
  • practical and financial advice
  • support in bereavement.


What is palliative care?

Palliative care is the holistic and total care of someone who is approaching the end of life, their family and carers. It aims to maintain and improve the quality of their life, and offers support during the course of the illness and following the death of the patient for their family and friends. For more information, see the World Health Organization's definitions of palliative care for adults and children.


Hospices provide palliative care 

Hospices have been leading providers of this care for many years and have developed a specialist knowledge which is accessible to patients, their families, professionals and other carers. They work closely with colleagues in other settings such as primary care, care homes and hospitals to identify people who could benefit from their care and to plan and provide it accordingly.



Hospice or palliative care is free for patients and their carers, family members and friends. 


Find out more

You can find out more about:


For more information on hospice care, you can download our leaflet – What is hospice care?


You can also read about the history of hospice care.

Download the leaflet – What is hospice care?
Download the leaflet – What is hospice care?