How Do Patients Describe Hospice Care? A Qualitative Analysis of the Language Used by Older Adults to Describe Hospice Care

J Palliat Med. 2022 Nov;25(11):1692-1696. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2022.0011. Epub 2022 Aug 9.


Background: Misconceptions about hospice are prevalent and create barriers to hospice enrollment. These misconceptions may be a result of the confusing language around hospice care. Objective: To conduct a content analysis exploring the language used and accuracy in which older adults describe hospice. Design: Participants in two prior studies were asked to describe hospice in their own words. Responses were coded inductively to explore the language used, and deductively to evaluate accuracy in describing hospice. Subjects: Two hundred sixty-six adults, aged at least 65 years or older. Results: The most common language used to describe hospice care related to "comfort," "care," and "family." Most participants accurately describe hospice eligibility, services, and goals of care but inaccurately described location of hospices services. Conclusions: Participants accurately described most of the logistical aspects of hospice care and words such as comfort, care, and family are commonly used to describe services suggesting preferred language for communication interventions. (Cohort #1 NCT03794700 and Cohort #2 NCT04458090).

Keywords: communication; discourse analysis; education; hospice care; older adults.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Clinical Studies as Topic
  • Data Collection
  • Hospice Care*
  • Hospices*
  • Humans
  • Language

Associated data