What is hospice? Here are the answers to the most common questions and concerns regarding hospice care and making important choices for yourself or your loved ones.

What is hospice?

Hospice is specialized end-of-life care that attends to patient’s needs in order to enhance their quality of life. Care is provided by a team of health professionals, skilled in pain and symptom management, providing comfort and care to patients and their entire family.

Who pays for hospice?

Medicare, Medi-Cal and most private insurance plans cover the cost of hospice, including medications, medical supplies and equipment. If you do not have any insurance coverage, we will work with you and your family to ensure you receive the services you need.

Is it expensive?

Medicare, Medi-Cal and private insurance cover nearly all costs. Many hospices care for those who are unable to pay. Out-of-pocket costs for the patient are few, if any at all.

Is hospice only for the sick family member?

Our hospice care team helps all family members and caregivers cope emotionally during this difficult time, while providing the education they may need to best care for the patient. Hospice by the Bay also offers grief counseling support before and after a loved one’s death.

Is it primarily used in the last few days of life?

Patients may receive care once their physician and the hospice physician determine that their illness is terminal, with an estimated life expectancy of six months or less. Medicare allows hospice to provide care for terminally ill patients, provided that certain medical eligibility criteria continue to be met, and the patient still wishes hospice care.

Can I keep my own doctor on hospice?

Hospice by the Bay establishes working relationships with a large base of referring physicians so that patients can keep their own doctors even after admission to hospice care.

Does hospice provide 24-hour, around-the-clock care?

Hospice care is provided through scheduled visits from members of the Hospice Care Team, with a nurse available by phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If needed, hospice can help the family arrange for an around-the-clock, private duty care attendant.

Where does hospice care take place? Do I have to leave my home?

Most hospice care is provided during regular visits wherever the patient calls home – in a family home, nursing or residential care facilities or in the hospital. We strive to honor the patient’s wishes for where they wish to receive our care.

When is it time for hospice?

So many of our patients tell us, “Your care and support has been so wonderful, we wish we had called you sooner.” Too many people spend their final months in and out of the hospital with medical crises, missing the opportunity to die at home with hospice’s compassionate support.

We recommend that doctors, patients and families discuss hospice at the time of their terminal diagnosis, so patients can consider this option as soon as they are eligible. There are many positive reasons to choose hospice care. Since its goal is to ensure patients’ dignity, comfort and quality of life, many patients’ conditions improve because of the personalized support of our caregiving team.

To help you decide whether it’s time to consider hospice care, see the questions in this article Is it time for Hospice? or call us to discuss options. We can help you think through what is best for you and your family, or schedule an informational visit..

Why should I choose Hospice by the Bay?


Here’s why you should choose Hospice by the Bay as your hospice provider.

  • We are a non-profit hospice. Some hospice providers are for-profit. We re-invest our resources in additional services such as grief support programs and pediatric hospice care.
  • As the second hospice founded in the country, we are the most experienced hospice provider in the Bay Area. We have long-standing relationships with many physicians, pharmacists, hospitals, nursing homes, home health care agencies, and medical equipment companies
  • Each patient’s situation is unique. We tailor our care to the individual needs of each patient and family.
  • We have full-time hospice physicians on staff to oversee the care of all of our patients, in collaboration with your personal doctors.
  • Hospice by the Bay is certified by CHAP – Community Health Accreditation Program. We request this outside rigorous evaluation so we can always provide the best care while being in full compliance with state and federal regulations.
  • You can call Hospice by the Bay anytime for your own peace of mind. We appreciate your curiosity and know it is better to educate yourself about hospice care before you really need it. We are always happy to answer your questions.

Call our office near you for caring, comfort and support in Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Sonoma counties, and the cities of American CanyonNapa and Vallejo.

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