The number of hospices in the United States has grown from 20 in 1978 to 1,500 in 1985. The projected need is for 4,000 to 5,000 new hospices to serve the terminally ill by the end of the century. As the hospice philosophy advocates a holistic approach (i.e., the amelioration of biological pain and physical symptoms, diagnostic honesty, and the maximization of the quality of life), occupational therapy, operating from an occupational behavior perspective, can contribute to maximizing the quality of life for the terminally ill patient. There is an urgent need to train occupational therapists to meet the potential demand inherent in the rapid growth of hospice care.

Because there are at the present time no formal course offerings on the treatment of the terminally ill hospice patient, this paper proposes a tutorial in the form of a five-phase model for an undergraduate independent study in hospice care. Certain principles of the model are illustrated through case studies.

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