Expanding Palliative and Hospice Care Programs

Palliative and hospice care help support patients and families as they navigate difficult decisions, focusing on caring for the whole person, rather than only medical needs. To promote improved end-of-life and palliative care, The Duke Endowment has awarded more than $10 million since 2000 to help build inpatient and residential hospice facilities and develop palliative care programs.

Hospice care is focused on terminally ill patients who no longer seek curative medical treatments and who are not expected to live for more than six months. Palliative care may be provided at any time during an illness, and may complement other treatments. It can prolong life for considerable periods and improve its quality.


The senior population is on the rise in North Carolina. By 2030, the 65 and older population is expected to be about twenty percent of the general population across the Carolinas. As more people in the Carolinas grow older and live longer, the need for medical services tailored to the final years of life increases. When achieving a cure is not always possible, managing chronic conditions and controlling pain through palliative care is an alternative. When sustaining life is not a long-term possibility, hospice care helps patients live their final days as comfortably and peacefully as possible.

Growing Demand for Hospice and Palliative Care Programs

Increasingly, palliative care serves as a link between the curative medical treatments of hospitals and the comforting hospice care provided in homes, hospitals and residential facilities. These programs offer specialized services that provide support and compassionate care to address issues faced by patients and families.

Despite the growing demand for palliative care programs and hospice facilities, hospitals and other organizations face challenges to support, expand and sustain these programs.

Find national statistics and trends on the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization website.


Since 2000, The Duke Endowment has awarded multiple grants to provide greater access in the Carolinas to quality end of life care for all who need it.

Funding has supported staffing, training and additional resources to develop, strengthen and expand palliative care programs in dozens of Carolina communities. Grants include:

  • $75,000 to Hospice of Henderson County in Flat Rock, N.C., to establish a palliative care program
  • $58,500 to Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville, N.C., to implement an inpatient palliative care program
  • $181,370 to the Medical University of South Carolina Foundation in Charleston, S.C., to establish a palliative care externship program

Endowment grants have also supported residential hospice centers. Examples include:

    • $150,000 to Carolina Community Care in Rock Hill, S.C., to construct a 16-bed hospice house
    • $150,000 to Haywood Regional Medical Center in Clyde, N.C., to build a hospice facility in Haywood County
    • $150,000 to Hospice of Iredell County in Statesville, N.C., to establish a nine-bed inpatient/residential hospice house for Iredell County
    • $240,000 to Hospice of Henderson County in Flat Rock, N. C., to provide technical assistance and evaluation for local communities

    Participating Sites

    View a list of participating sites in North Carolina and South Carolina.


    Area of Work

    • Quality and safety of health care

    Program Area

    • Health Care

    Grantmaking Status

    Areas of Work

    • Prevention and early intervention for at-risk children

      To equip children and families with skills to ensure that children reach developmental milestones to lead successful lives.

    • Out-of-home care for youth

      To drive child welfare systems toward greater accountability for child well-being.

    • Quality and safety of health care

      Improving the quality and safety of health care delivery

    • Access to health care

      Improving health by increasing access to comprehensive care

    • Prevention

      Expanding programs to promote health and prevent disease

    • Academic excellence

      Enhancing academic excellence through program and campus development

    • Educational access and success

      Increasing educational access and supporting a learning environment that promotes achievement

    • Campus and community engagement

      Promoting a culture of service, collaboration and engagement among schools and communities

    • Rural church development

      Building the infrastructure and capacity of United Methodist churches to enhance ministry and mission

    • Clergy leadership

      Strengthening United Methodist churches by improving the quality and effectiveness of church leadership

    • Congregational outreach

      Engaging United Methodist congregations in programs that serve their communities