Hospice & Palliative Care Ethical Principles

Categories: Leadership.

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization asks all its hospice and palliative care health care providers to subscribe to and practice the following principles.


A. Patient and Family

  • Admissions
    Offer access to hospice and palliative care to all patients and their families in need of those services.
  • Care and Services
    Provide patients and their families with the highest possible level of quality end-of-life care and services, while maintaining professional boundaries that respect their rights and privacy.
  • Conflicts of Interest
    Avoid activities that conflict with the organization’s responsibilities to patients and their families.
  • Discontinuation of Care
    Discontinue care only upon the voluntary consent of the patient, when the patient is no longer medically eligible, or when the organization cannot provide care without compromising the ethical or professional integrity, or the safety, of its employees.
  • Information Management, Confidentiality and Privacy
    Respect and protect confidential information.

B. Employees and Volunteers

  • Employee and Volunteer Relations
    Ensure that hospice and palliative care employees and volunteers are treated with respect and fairness, while supporting their ability to obtain the highest level of skill and expertise in their profession or role.

C. Governance

  • Governance
    Adhere to governance structures that ensure the organization fulfills its mission and purpose.


A. Hospice Market (other hospices, suppliers, payers)

  • External Collegial Relationships

    Work cooperatively with other healthcare providers, suppliers and payers to provide compassionate and competent end-of-life care.

B. Donors

  • Development and Fundraising

    Be open and transparent in soliciting and accepting financial and/or in-kind support.

C. General Public

  • Access
    Promote universal availability of comprehensive hospice and palliative care services, in diverse healthcare settings and with specific emphasis on reaching traditionally underserved populations.
  • Marketing and Referrals
    Follow marketing and referral practices that promote compassionate, high-quality care for patients and their families.
  • Public Information
    Develop and disseminate accurate, honest and timely information about hospice, palliative care and other end-of-life issues to local, state and national communities.

D. Society

  • Research
    Support the advancement of knowledge to improve the provision, quality, and outcomes of hospice and palliative care.

Providers interested in a more thorough discussion of these ethical principles should refer to NHPCO’s publication, Ethical Principles: Guidelines for Hospice and Palliative Care Clinical and Organizational Conduct, available from the NHPCO Marketplace.

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