Understanding hospice

What is hospice care?

When someone you love is seriously ill, you want to do as much as you can to make sure they are comfortable and peaceful. At Hospice of Santa Cruz County, we do too.

With hospice care, a skilled team of professionals can provide caring support to you and your loved one in the comfort of your own home or in nursing homes and residential care facilities.

When you choose hospice care:

  • A nurse visits regularly to check on the patient and teach the family how to manage the patient’s care between visits
  • A hospice aide provides personal care
  • A medical social worker helps with caregiving and planning and offers emotional support to the whole family
  • A chaplain is available for spiritual support for the patient and family
  • A trained volunteer can help with more practical needs, such as transportation, errands, and companionship
  • Grief support staff and volunteers provide group and individual support for families for 13 months after the patient’s death

What makes hospice different?

Hospice lets patients live the last phase of life as fully and comfortably as possible by offering:

  • The ability to stay at home or in a nursing home, surrounded by the people and things they love most
  • Pain and other symptom management so a patient can spend each day in comfort and enjoy quality time with friends and loved ones
  • Spiritual and emotional support to help patients and their families address the feelings, fears and questions that may arise at the end of life
  • Support for loved ones through their grief and loss

Who can be helped by hospice?

Hospice care is helpful for anyone of any age, with any life-limiting condition. While many hospice patients have cancer, hospice provides great comfort and support for all types of patients. Hospice care can be provided when the doctor states that the patient has six months or less to live. Even if the patient lives longer than 6 months, hospice care can continue with the doctor’s approval.