The Hospice Companion is designed to promote, establish, maintain and continuously improve comprehensive systems of care that ensure the highest quality of services to meet the needs of patients and their families during the last phase of life. On behalf of their patients, all hospice providers must inculcate processes of care that lead to maximal comfort and functional capacities, and a sense of being valued throughout the final stages of any chronic and progressive illness. The values embodied in The Hospice Companion reflect a commitment to these premises: -The dying patient's achievable goals are the highest priority of care. -Family preferences are respected and supported whenever possible. -All terminally ill patients and their families deserve access to hospice care. -Ongoing investment to advance the art and science of palliative care is a moral imperative. -The spirit of Hospice as the most humanistic form of care at the end of life must be continually nurtured through interdisciplinary work. More than ever it is incumbent upon those who provide care to those with life-limiting illnesses to be keenly aware of both the extent and the limits of the technological advances that can add either great burden or great benefit to seriously ill patients and their families. The Hospice Companion has been created to operationalize the mission and values of modern-day Hospice through the individual and combined efforts of our most valuable asset, the Hospice professional. The title word 'Companion' was expressly chosen for the profound meaning it suggests: that companionship, in the many forms it can take, is the key ingredient to care. This book represents the practical embodiment of the basic, fundamental elements of care, through a focus on common problems confronting patients, their families, and their caregivers. The Hospice Companion is intended as a guide through which some mastery over the seemingly complex, challenging, and oftentimes chaotic world of advanced disease may be derived. Use of this 'tool' to direct processes of care during the intense interpersonal experiences of hospice work should allow the greatest opportunity for personal and professional growth and a deeply gratifying sense of accomplishment as you proceed in the all-important work of caring for the dying.