An inpatient hospice admits patients in their last phase of life, when treatment in a hospital is not necessary and care at home or in a nursing home is not possible.
The central aims of an inpatient hospice are the alleviation of symptoms and achievement of the best possible quality of life until death, as well as bereavement support.
In many countries, the function of an inpatient hospice is similar to that of a palliative care unit (PCU), whereas, in other countries, a clear distinction can be observed. In some countries patients will be admitted to a PCU for crisis intervention and to an inpatient hospice for end-of-life care.
An inpatient hospice requires a multi professional team that cares for patients and their relatives using a holistic approach. Nursing staff should encompass at least one, preferably 1.2 nurses per bed. A physician trained in palliative care should be available 24 hours a day. There should be dedicated input from psychosocial and spiritual care workers as well as voluntary workers.
The core team
of an inpatient hospice consists of nurses and requires ready access to a trained physician. The extended team
comprises social workers, psychologists, spiritual carers, physiotherapists, dietitians, speech and language therapists and occupational therapists, as well as voluntary workers.
An inpatient hospice requires a homelike atmosphere with access for people with disabilities, single or double patient rooms and a capacity of at least eight beds. The hospice should be equipped with rooms for social and therapeutic activities.
The patient rooms should be equipped with a bathroom. Facilities for overnight stay of relatives should be provided.
Radbruch L, Payne S and the Board of Directors of the EAPC. EAPC update. White Paper on standards and norms for hospice and palliative care in Europe: part 2. European Journal of Palliative Care, 2009; 16(6)