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Home or hospital for relieving physical and emotional suffering of dying persons. In patients expected to live only months or weeks, hospice care offers an alternative to aggressive life-prolonging measures, which often only increase discomfort and isolation. Hospices provide a sympathetic environment in which prevention (not just control) of physical pain has top priority, along with patients' emotional and spiritual needs. Care may be provided in a health facility, on an outpatient basis, or at home.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on hospice, visit Britannica.com.