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comfort care home, concept analysis, hospice, palliative care, social model hospice



  1. Farrar, Helen Mavis PhD, RN, BC, CNE
  2. Scott, Kelley Easterling BSN, RN, CHPN
  3. Clifton, Shari MLIS, AHIP
  4. Clark, Jennifer K. MD


The term social model hospice first appeared late in the 20th century as a label for a complementary model to medical hospice care. Two decades later, the term is inconsistently defined and used by scholars, health care providers, public consumers, and those within the movement. The purpose of this review is to trace the development of the concept and confirm an evolving definition based on Rodgers' evolutionary method. Database and hand searching was done for the years 1975 to 2020, resulting in 25 publications for analysis. Unique antecedents include presence of a resource crisis, unmet needs falling outside the scope of medical hospice care, and desire to experience death outside the medical system and/or personal home. Attributes include a dedicated home, round-the-clock, individualized end-of-life care; care option when dying at home becomes unmanageable; collaboration with medical hospice services; nonprofit organization funded by community philanthropy; environment to support loved ones; and community volunteer involvement. Noted consequences are effective end-of-life care for dying patients and their families, innovative health care design, nationwide network of like-minded providers, and platform for end-of-life community education. Clarity of the concept will facilitate access to end-of-life care, further the model's development, formalize research endeavors, and foster community education.