Hospice care focuses on providing the best possible quality of life and comfort for someone who is terminally ill and typically in the last part of their journey on earth.
Many people are familiar with the concept of hospice care in the home. This type of care involves medical and other professionals coming into the home periodically to provide support and working alongside family or other caregivers to make someone comfortable.
But hospice care is also available in many assisted living communities, and may include medical, spiritual and emotional support for both the individual and their family.
While hospice care is typically concerned with end of life, palliative care can be an option during any stage of a life-threatening or terminal illness. Palliative care works to create more comfort and quality of life at times when someone might be recovering from treatment (such as after chemotherapy) or otherwise dealing with a serious and complex condition.
An assisted living community that offers various levels of care may include hospice as an option for the benefit of residents. When hospice is available right in the community, someone can live out their days in a location that is already familiar to them, which can be a comfort for many. It also reduces the need for transportation to another location — such moves can decrease comfort and increase anxiety in many situations.
But hospice care in these environments is not always limited to existing residents. Some families choose hospice care in a community and move their loved ones into the community at that point because it's the safest way to keep someone comfortable and support quality of life during this time. This can be the case if there's not a safe home environment or a family caregiver available to provide adequate day-to-day support.