A survey of complementary therapy services provided by hospices

J Palliat Med. 2004 Aug;7(4):510-6. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2004.7.510.


A questionnaire was mailed to 300 randomly selected hospices in the United States, to gather preliminary data on the nature of complementary therapy services provided by hospices. Information included types of complementary therapies offered, utilization, staffing, obstacles, as well as suggestions for improving hospice complementary therapy services. Of a total of 169 responding hospices, 60% offered complementary therapies to patients. The most popular therapies were massage therapy and music therapy. Only a portion of patients in these hospices received complementary therapy. Many hospices were limited in the amount of complementary therapy services they could provide because of program constraints, such as funding problems, lack of qualified complementary staff, inadequate knowledge of complementary therapies and how to offer these services, and resistance to complementary therapies by some staff and patients. A crucial challenge for hospices interested in providing complementary therapies to patients is to find ways to overcome these obstacles.

MeSH terms

  • Complementary Therapies / organization & administration
  • Complementary Therapies / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Hospices / organization & administration
  • Hospices / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Massage
  • Music Therapy
  • Pilot Projects
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States