What is "Hospice Care"?

Hospice care is a specialized form of interdisciplinary health care that is designed to provide palliative care to alleviate the physical, emotional, social, and spiritual discomforts of an individual who is experiencing the last phases of life due to a terminal disease, provide supportive care to the primary caregiver and the family of the hospice patient, and that meets all of the following criteria:

1. Considers the patient and the patient's family as the unit of care.

2. Utilizes an interdisciplinary team to assess the physical, medical, psychological, social, and spiritual needs of the patient and their family.

3. Requires the interdisciplinary team to develop an overall plan of care and to provide coordinated care that emphasizes supportive services, such as home care, pain control, and limited inpatient services. Limited inpatient services are intended to ensure both continuity of care and appropriateness of services for those patients who cannot be managed at home because of acute complications or the temporary absence of a capable primary caregiver.

4. Provides for the palliative medical treatment of pain and other symptoms associated with a terminal disease, but does not provide for efforts to cure the disease.

5. Provides for bereavement services following death to assist the family in coping with social and emotional needs associated with the death of the patient.

6. Actively utilizes volunteers in the delivery of hospice services.

7. To the extent appropriate, based on the medical needs of the patient, provides services in the patient's home or primary place of residence.

Facilities, agencies, and health care professionals that provide hospice services are regulated and licensed by the California Department of Public Health, Center for Health Care Quality (CHCQ), which is responsible for the regulatory oversight of health facilities to secure safe, effective and quality healthcare for all Californians. CHCQ evaluates facilities, agencies, and healthcare professionals for compliance with state laws and regulations, and also investigates complaints and certifies their compliance with federal laws and regulations.

Complaints about hospice care can be made to the California Department of Public Health, Licensing and Certification Division, through their website at www.cdph.ca.gov.

All licensed hospice care facilities and agencies are listed on the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development's website, www.oshpd.ca.gov. This list is updated as of June 30th and December 31st of each year.