Patients with haematological diseases do not have ready access to hospice services in South Australia. They remain in close contact with a specialist haematology or oncology unit, and are more likely than are patients with solid tumours to receive intensive therapy during a terminal admission. The course of the final month of life was compared for three groups of patients suffering from colorectal cancer, non-Hodgkins lymphoma and acute leukaemia by a review of hospital records. All leukaemia patients died in hospital and few received a palliative care consultation. Measures of symptom control and quality of life are not recorded for these patients. It seems probable that adults with acute leukaemia will continue to die in hospital. Some of the lessons learnt from hospice practice may be appropriately applied in hospital for those patients.