WHO provides hospice services?

“Typically, a family member serves as the primary caregiver and, when appropriate, helps make decisions for the terminally ill individual. Members of the hospice staff make regular visits to assess the patient and provide additional care or other services… The hospice team develops a plan that meets each patient’s individual needs for pain management and symptom control. This interdisciplinary team… usually consists of the patient’s personal physician, hospice physician or medical director, nurses, hospice aides, social workers, bereavement counselors, clergy or other spiritual counselors, trained volunteers, and speech, physical, and occupational therapists, if needed.” (National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, Facts and Figures 2018 Edition.)

WHAT is hospice?

“Considered the model for quality compassionate care for people facing a life-limiting illness, hospice provides expert medical care, pain management, and emotional and spiritual support expressly tailored to the patient’s needs and wishes. Support is provided to the patient’s family as well.” (National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, Facts and Figures 2018 Edition.)

Hospice provides services to patients at four levels of care, which are based on the assessed needs of the patient and family.

  1. Routine – The majority of care provided by hospice falls under this category. Intermittent hospice services are provided in the patient’s home wherever that home may be.
  2. Continuous Home Care – When there is a period of crisis, the Hospice may initiate Continuous Home Care to enable the patient to remain at home. Care is provided frequently throughout the day to achieve palliation or management of medical symptoms for at least eight hours per 24-hour period. The care provided is predominantly nursing care but can include hospice aide, social worker, and/or spiritual counselor services.
  3. General Inpatient Care (GIP) – When a patient’s medical condition warrants a short-term inpatient stay for pain control or other symptom management that cannot feasibly be provided at home, The Hospice of San Diego will arrange for the patient to stay in a facility temporarily for medication adjustment, observation, or other stabilizing treatment.
  4. Respite Care – Caring for a loved one is hard work. To temporarily relieve family or other persons caring for the individual at home, The Hospice of San Diego can arrange for a patient to stay in a facility temporarily for a five-day period.

WHEN are hospice services provided?

The hospice team visits the patient as often as necessary based on assessments of the patient’s and family’s needs. Most hospice visits occur during normal business hours, but visits may be arranged at other times and days on an as-needed basis.

Hospice care is available on-call 24 hours/day, 7 days/week. The frequency of visits is based on the patient and family needs as described in the plan of care and on the changing needs of the patient. The frequency of volunteers depends upon the patient/family requests and on the availability of services.

WHERE can I receive hospice services?

Hospice can be provided wherever a person lives includes private homes, nursing facilities, and long-term care facilities. Bereavement counseling is often provided at our hospice office to allow you uninterrupted, focused time with our Bereavement Counselor; but counseling services can also be provided at other locations if needed.

HOW do I pay for hospice services?

Medicare and Medi-Cal cover the full cost of hospice care. Most private insurance covers hospice as well.

WHAT IF I change my mind about hospice?

Hospice is a choice. A patient may choose to leave at any time. A patient may also be discharged if a patient shows signs of improvement, and the disease seems to be in remission.

What services does The Hospice of San Diego provide?

See Services

Are you a non-profit organization? What difference does that make?

The Hospice of San Diego is a for-profit corporation. The terms are very misleading. The difference is not that one type of organization profits while the other does not. In fact, both must to be profitable to remain in business and to continue to serve its patients. The types and quality of services that patients and families receive is not determined by a hospice’s status as “non-profit” or “for-profit.”

The main difference between for-profit and non-profit/not-for-profit hospices is tax status. Non-profit organizations receive tax-exempt status while for-profit organizations must pay taxes. Non-profit organizations must prove that they provide a community benefit, which includes providing a certain amount of charity care. For-profit organizations including The Hospice of San Diego may also provide charity care – they just don’t have a set requirement that they must meet to maintain their tax status.

In fact, because of our strong belief in the importance of hospice bereavement programs, we routinely offer our bereavement services to the community free of charge.

When should I consider hospice care?

Hospice care is most beneficial when it is provided for months as opposed to weeks or days. Patients and families can benefit from considering hospice as soon as it is appropriate so that they may receive the full range of available benefits. Anyone may inquire about hospice services at any time.

Hospice Indicators

Appropriateness is determined by the hospice, but here are some indicators to watch for:

  • Unrelieved pain
  • Frequent infections
  • Repeat hospitalizations
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Decreased mobility
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Shortness of breath