Hospice Role in Alleviating the Emotional Stress of Terminal Patients and Their Families

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Terminally ill cancer patients in a Veterans Administration hospital were randomly assigned to receive hospice care. Follow-up evaluation through the time of death revealed no significant differences in anxiety or depression between hospice or control patients, but hospice patients exhibited significantly greater improvement in two of three measures of satisfaction (interpersonal care and involvement in care decisions). Hospice patients' significant others (SOs) showed some decrease in anxiety and greater satisfaction with involvement in care than did control SOs. The differences were attributable in part to hospice staff better meeting SOs' perceived needs.

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