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The concept of hospice is one of comprehensive care for the dying. The physical facilities may be very extensive or quite minimal. The AAFP, therefore, chooses to define hospice in terms of what it does rather than the institution in which it is performed.
A hospice is a program designed to care for the dying and their special needs. Among these services all hospice programs should include:
(a) Control of pain and other symptoms through medication, environmental adjustment and education.
(b) Psychosocial support for both the patient and family, including all phases from diagnosis through bereavement.
(c) Medical services commensurate with the needs of the patient.
(d) Interdisciplinary "team" approach to patient care, patient and family support, and education with physician leadership.
(e) Integration into existing facilities where possible.
(f) Specially trained personnel with expertise in care of the dying and their families.