Hospice Cancer Pathways Program 

Navigating the complex journey of cancer  can be both physically and emotionally challenging. At Honor Hospice, we understand that there comes a point when curative treatments may no longer be the best path forward. That’s where our Hospice Cancer Pathways Program steps in.

This unique specialized program is designed to provide guidance and support to individuals and families facing the difficult decision of when hospice care may be the right choice. As cancer progresses, patients may face physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual challenges as highlighted below.

Challenges of Cancer

Physical Challenges with Cancer

Physical symptoms tend to intensify as cancer progresses. Pain may become more severe and difficult to manage, requiring stronger pain medications or palliative interventions. Fatigue often becomes overwhelming, leading to increased weakness and limited mobility. Loss of appetite and unintended weight loss are common, as the body’s energy needs decrease. Other physical changes may include changes in bowel and bladder function, difficulty swallowing, respiratory distress, and increased susceptibility to infections. The body may gradually slow down, and individuals may spend more time sleeping or in a sedated state.

As cancer advances, individuals may require more assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, toileting, and feeding. The physical limitations and fatigue may make it challenging for individuals to perform these tasks independently, necessitating the support of family members, caregivers, or hospice professionals to ensure their comfort and well-being.

Emotional and Psychosocial Challenges with Cancer

Near the end of life, individuals with cancer may experience a wide range of emotional and psychosocial challenges. Anxiety, fear, and sadness are common as they face the reality of their prognosis. They may also grapple with feelings of grief and loss as they confront the impending end of life. Emotional support needs may vary, and some individuals may find solace in seeking spiritual guidance or counseling to address their emotional and existential concerns. Family members and loved ones may also experience significant emotional strain as they navigate their own emotions while providing support and witnessing their loved one’s declining health.

Near the end of life, individuals may experience changes in their social relationships and dynamics. They may withdraw from social interactions, preferring solitude or limited company. Relationships with loved ones may become more intense and emotionally charged as individuals reflect on their lives and prepare for their impending departure. Support from hospice professionals can help facilitate open communication and provide guidance to family members, ensuring they have the tools to navigate these changes and maintain meaningful connections.

Mental Changes in Cancer Care

Some individuals may experience cognitive changes, such as confusion, disorientation, or difficulty with concentration and memory. This can be attributed to various factors, including the progression of cancer, side effects of medications, or metabolic imbalances. These cognitive changes can impact communication and daily functioning, requiring additional support and understanding from caregivers.

Spiritual Challenges in Cancer Care

Many individuals facing end-stage cancer experience spiritual and existential contemplation. They may seek to find meaning, resolve unfinished business, or engage in spiritual practices that align with their beliefs and values. Hospice care recognizes the importance of addressing these spiritual needs, offering spiritual support and guidance to help individuals find comfort and peace in their own unique ways.

How the Hospice Cancer Pathways Program Can Help

Hospice care provides invaluable support to individuals with cancer and their families during this difficult time. The Honor Hospice Cancer Pathways team is specially trained and experienced in effectively managing pain and other distressing symptoms that both those with cancer and caregivers face.


The Hospice Cancer Pathways Program includes:

    Pain & Symptom Management

    Our interdisciplinary team creates a specialized cared plan to manage common symptoms experienced by those with cancer which may include pain, anxiety, shortness of breath, weakness, cognitive decline, nausea and vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, shortness of breath, and weight loss.

    Skilled Nursing Care

    Hospice care includes skilled nursing services provided by specially-trained hospice nurses who have expertise in managing the complexities that arise when living with cancer. These skilled nurses assess and monitor the patient’s condition, provide anticipatory guidance based on disease progression, educate the patient along with the caregivers, manage medications, provide wound care when needed, and collaborate with other healthcare professionals to ensure comprehensive care.

    Personal Assistance & Assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

    Hospice aides, also known as certified nursing assistants (CNAs), are an integral part of the hospice team. They provide hands-on assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing, dressing, grooming, and toileting. For individuals with cancer this can be of vital importance due to increased dependence, shortness of breath, pain, muscle weakness and easy fatigue, and/or cognitive decline.

    Emotional & Psychosocial Support

    Hospice care extends support not only to patients but also to their families and caregivers. Helping a loved one with cancer can be challenging. Social workers and counselors are available to provide emotional support, counseling, and resources to cope with the challenges that arise during this difficult time. Hospice social workers also may assist with accessing community resources, planning for the future, and completion of advance directives. The nursing team is available to assist in educating and guiding you through providing the best care to your loved one.

    Spiritual & Emotional Support

    Hospice care acknowledges the importance of spiritual and emotional well-being during end-of-life care. Chaplains or spiritual counselors are available to provide spiritual support, and bereavement services are offered to help families cope with grief and loss after the passing of a loved one. Our chaplains can coordinate visits and calls from a patient’s local clergy as well.

    Medication Coverage

    Hospice fully covers medications related to the terminal illness to assist in providing peace and comfort. This ensures that patients have access to the resources they need to maintain comfort and improve their quality of life.

    Supplies for Daily Care

    Hospice provides disposable supplies including items like adult briefs, incontinence pads, personal hygiene wipes, gloves, wound care supplies, and mouth moisturizers.

    Medical Equipment

    All durable medical equipment related to the terminal condition is fully covered under the hospice benefit. With cancer, this may include a wide range of supplies including items like a hospital bed, wheelchair or other mobility aides, oxygen concentrator, bedside table, shower chair, or additional items determined to be necessary by agreement of the hospice team, patient, and caregivers.

    24/7 Availability

    Hospice care offers round-the-clock access to the hospice team, providing peace of mind for patients and their families. This availability ensures that assistance is available whenever it is needed, even outside regular office hours.

    The main focus of the Hospice Cancer Pathways Program is to provide personalized support that meets the needs of both the patient and their caregivers. We understand the unique challenges faced by those with cancer. We strive to provide a comforting and supporting environment where patients can maintain their dignity and receive the comfort they deserve. Using evidence-based practices, our team works to address the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual needs of those we serve.

    Hospice Eligibility Guidelines for Cancer

    We understand that navigating the complexities of hospice care can be overwhelming, especially when a loved one has cancer. This page aims to provide you with a comprehensive guide to the eligibility guidelines for hospice care specifically designed for individuals with cancer.

    Disease Specific Guidelines

    Patients who meet the following criteria will be deemed to be in the terminal stage of cancer as highlighted below, with a life expectancy of six months or less if the illness runs its course. These criteria apply to patients with different forms of cancer who ultimately follow a final common pathway for end-stage disease.

    1. Progression of cancer from an earlier stage to metastatic disease with either:
      1. Patient declining further treatment
      2. Continued decline despite treatment
    2. Disease with metastases at presentation

    Non-Disease Specific Guidelines

    1. Physiologic impairment of functional status demonstrated by a score < 70% using either:
      1. Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS)
      2. Palliative Performance Scale (PPS)
    2. Dependence on assistance for two or more of the following activities of daily living (ADLs):
      1. Feeding
      2. Bathing
      3. Dressing
      4. Toileting
      5. Ambulation (walking/moving)
      6. Transfer


    Although not the primary hospice diagnosis, the presence of certain co-morbidities should be considered in determining hospice eligibility, as the severity of these conditions is likely to contribute to a life expectancy of six months or less. These co-morbidities may include:

    • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
    • Congestive heart failure
    • Ischemic heart disease
    • Dementia
    • Renal failure
    • Diabetes mellitus
    • Liver disease
    • Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)
    • Neurologic disease (CVA, ALS, MS, Parkinson’s)
    • Neoplasia

    Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided on this page is intended for general guidance purposes only and should not replace professional medical advice. Each individual’s situation is unique, and eligibility for hospice care should be assessed by qualified healthcare professionals.

    Speak to the Our Team

    If you or someone you know want to learn more about the hospice care, eligibility for hospice, or our Hospice Cancer Pathways Program, please contact us today or refer yourself or a loved one to our care. Our compassionate team at Honor Hospice is dedicated to providing information, support, and personalized care during this challenging time.