Complementary Hospice Therapies: By the Numbers

Pet therapy

Complementary therapy works in tandem with the medical, social, or spiritual services offered by the hospice care team. A 2007 CDC National Home and Hospice Care Survey on the use of complementary and alternative therapies (CAT) in hospice found such therapies provide another avenue for symptom management and improve quality of life for patients.


Complementary and alternative therapies offered by providers:


  • 72% offered massage
  • 69% offered supportive group therapy
  • 62% provided music therapy
  • 59% used pet therapy
  • 53% provided guided imagery or relaxation
  • 48% used therapeutic touch
  • 40% provided aromatherapy


Other Alternative Therapies include:


  • Acupuncture/Acupressure
  • Art therapy
  • Chiropractic and osteopathic manipulations
  • Deep breathing/Relaxation techniques
  • Yoga/Pilates/Movement therapies


Hospice care and complementary therapies work hand-in-hand toward a common goal, peace and comfort for patients. Almost half of comfort care providers offered some form of care. Compassus offers patients and their families the option of CAT services when they are available.


41.8% of hospice care providers offered alternative or complementary services.


Two weeks of massage or simple touch therapy resulted in significant improvements in pain relief and quality of life.


81.8% of patients who received alternative therapies managed their pain without medication.