Hospice provides individualized, compassionate comfort care and support to patients and families facing a life-limiting illness. The goal of hospice care is quality of life and meeting the physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual needs of our patients.

Hospice care is provided to anyone who has a medical condition with a prognosis of six months or less if the disease or condition runs its normal course. Hospice is for patients who are no longer pursing aggressive treatment or curative care.

Seriously ill patients who have decided that their priority is to have the best quality of life possible are the people who are best suited for hospice.

Hospice focuses on caring, not curing, and in most cases care is provided in the patient’s home. Hospice care also is provided in hospitals, nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, as well as freestanding hospice facilities. Hospice services are available to patients of any age, religion, race, or illness. (From the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization)

Not at all! Although it may be that your loved one's condition has reached a point that a cure is not likely-or not likely enough to be worth the side effects of treatment--that does not mean there is nothing left to do. In fact, an emphasis on quality of life and easing pain and distress often allows the patient to spend his or her last months focusing on the things that are ultimately the most important and meaningful. Far from giving up, hospice helps families truly live well and support each other during a stressful, but in the end very natural, family life passage.

At any time during a life-threatening illness, when a cure is no longer possible or the patient makes a decision to discontinue curative care. The decision to enter hospice care is made with the patient, family and their physician preferably as soon as it is clear that the focus is no longer on curing the illness. This allows for sufficient time for the hospice team to establish a relationship and manage patient symptoms. Most patients and families who receive hospice care say they wish they had known about it earlier, that they needed the help much sooner than they received it.

You can, but oddly enough, doctors often wait for families to bring it up. This is part of the reason that people often receive hospice care so late in the process. If you think your loved one and family might benefit from the support of weekly home visits from staff who specialize in pain control and the easing of distress, ask your doctor if hospice might be something to consider now, or in the near future. If, when you are truly honest with yourself, you realize that you would not be surprised if your loved one were to die in the next six to twelve months, ask the doctor if he or she would be surprised. If the answer is anything close to "No, I would not be surprised," then maybe it's a good time to begin a discussion about hospice. If you would like more information, please feel free to call us at 707-778-6242. We would be happy to talk with you or to do an informational home visit—no obligation or strings attached.

If the person you care for has Medicare and meets hospice eligibility requirements, then the government will pay as much as 100% of the cost. In such a case, there is no deductible and no co-payment. Not only are the services of the hospice staff entirely covered, but medical supplies and prescriptions relating to pain and comfort management are also covered. Individuals who do not have Medicare coverage but have coverage from private insurance should talk with their insurance company to find out whether there are eligible and how much is required in terms of a deductible and co-payments.

Hospice Services of St. Joseph Health serves all religions and denominational preferences. Our chaplains are educated in all faiths and religious practices.

Call any of our three hospice locations listed below and our Admissions Team will be able to arrange for a physician order. Our staff will make an appointment to visit the patient, complete and assessment, sign consents and develop a plan of care.

Hospice Services of St. Joseph Health staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Did you know that there are several myths about hospice care in the community? Even healthcare professionals have some misconceptions about what hospice care is and who would benefit from this specialized end-of-life care. Learn more.