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Hospice Care for Advanced Ovarian Cancer

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: May 2021

Hospice care, sometimes also called end-of-life care, is care given to those with an advanced, life-limiting illness. It is care that focuses on quality of life for the person, their family, and their caregivers. It is most often used when a person is expected to live for 6 months or less.1,2

Hospice care is a form of the compassionate care given by a team of professionals to provide medical care and a variety of support. Treatment focuses on symptom relief and quality of life rather than treating the disease.1,2

Hospice care can be given anywhere, in any setting. Depending on your specific needs, this may be in a hospital, a nursing home, or your own home.

Hospice for advanced ovarian cancer

When there are no more treatments available for advanced ovarian cancer or when treatment is no longer controlling the disease, your doctor may recommend hospice care. Hospice allows symptoms to be managed and treated, including pain control, to give comfort and improve quality of life.

Since the goal is not to treat or cure the cancer, the focus is on making you comfortable physically and emotionally. Your hospice care team will also address any concerns you, your family, or your caregivers may have.

Who is on the hospice care team?

Many different people are often part of a hospice care team. Your team may include nurses, doctors, social workers, spiritual advisors, and trained volunteers. Members of the hospice team work with each other and with you, your family, and your caregivers. They will make sure everyone is supported and any outstanding needs are addressed.1

Benefits of hospice

Besides improving quality of life, hospice care can provide many other benefits. These may include:2

  • Palliative care and symptom control
    • Symptoms and side effects are treated as soon as possible, including addressing the stress caused by the symptoms or side effects
  • Home care and inpatient hospice care
    • Most hospice care is offered at home. However, if you have to be admitted to a hospital or care facility, the hospice team can still be involved in your care
  • Spiritual care
    • You may find yourself questioning your faith, becoming more faithful, or wanting to examine illness and dying in the context of your faith. Spiritual leaders can help you with any end-of-life preparations you may have or with a service or ritual you would like to do
  • Family meetings
    • Regularly scheduled meetings with you and your family help keep everyone informed and allow people to share feelings or concerns
  • Coordination of care
    • The hospice team helps coordinate your care and shares information with all members of your care team
    • There is always someone on-call for you and your family
  • Respite care
    • Sometimes caregivers may need a break. Respite care may provide up to 5 days of a break for your caregiver while you stay at a hospice facility or on a hospice floor in a hospital
  • Bereavement care
    • Hospice also helps family and caregivers with their grief after a loss, usually for up to 1 year

Things to consider

Research shows that hospice is underused in the United States and often not started soon enough. Doctors may be hesitant to bring it up, or families may not understand what hospice is and what it can provide.2

Hospice is not giving up or losing hope – you can stop hospice care at any time and go back to active treatment. What hospice can do is provide quality of life and symptom relief during the end stages of advanced disease.2

If you are interested in learning more about hospice or whether it is the right decision for you, talk with your doctor. They can also help you with any paperwork you might need to get insurance coverage or Medicare/Medicaid coverage for your hospice care.

Hospice resources

More information about hospice can be found at:

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