"Hospice and palliative care is one of the least understood programs among families struggling with terminal illness. It conjures up images of kind-hearted strangers with no medical background stopping by to deliver soup and hold a loved one’s hand days before their death. Whenever I suggest to friends with incurably ill parents that they consider hospice, their eyes flash wide and they declare defensively, 'We aren’t there yet! My parent isn’t about to die!' It’s an uneducated and unfortunate response.
When a patient is deemed terminally ill, by definition it means there is no cure: there are only options for extending life for an uncertain amount of time. Frequently these options are miserable, painful and detrimental not only to a patient’s physical well-being, but also to her state of mind. Hospice and palliative care takes a different approach. Rather than focus on extending life, it strives to improve the patient’s current life — to comfort and help her enjoy quality time during her final months, weeks or days."