Alliance Will Strengthen Palliative Care, Hospice Services
UC San Francisco and Hospice by the Bay have formed an alliance to expand quality patient care for seriously and terminally ill patients in the Bay Area.
In the past 20 years, hospice and palliative care has evolved considerably from end-of-life care to addressing the spectrum of quality of life and symptom management needs of patients living with life-limiting illness. According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), an estimated 1.5-1.6 million patients received hospice services in 2012.
“Affiliating with organizations such as Hospice by the Bay – whose specialized services increasingly will be in demand as our population ages – is critical to UCSF’s goal of creating a comprehensive Bay Area network that addresses the multifaceted health care needs of patients and families, now and in the future,” said Mark R. Laret, CEO of UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals.
Specifically, the affiliation will allow the organizations to:
- Expand home-based palliative and hospice care services, including new geographic areas.
- Evaluate and collaborate on best practices for transitioning patients from active, curative treatments through palliative care and symptom management to end-of-life home care.
- Create a nationally recognized program to train the next generation of physicians, nurses and other health professionals on end-of-life practices.
- Share resources in raising patient awareness of the benefits of palliative and hospice care.
Incorporated in 1975 as Hospice of Marin, Hospice by the Bay is the oldest hospice in California and second oldest in the United States. Headquartered in Larkspur, Calif., it serves Marin, San Francisco, North San Mateo and Sonoma counties and the city of Napa.
“In today’s fragmented health care system, our goal is to continue to develop and deliver best practices for caring for patients and their families,” said Kitty Whitaker, RN, MS, Hospice by the Bay CEO. “We want to be part of a seamless continuum from curative treatment to palliative and home care to end-of-life hospice care.”
At UCSF, the Palliative Care Service is dedicated to the care and comfort of seriously ill patients and their families. Patients are cared for by their doctors, with consultation from palliative care staff. The palliative care team includes doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, chaplains and ethicists who help patients address a broad range of issues.
Seven out of 10 Americans say they would prefer to die at home, yet only 25 percent actually do. Even those who may be eligible for hospice care might not realize the full benefit of the comprehensive services available to them and their families.
Patients are qualified to receive hospice care if they have a life expectancy of six months or less. However, the median time that patients are in hospice care is 18.5 days, according to an NHPCO study. This so-called “length of service” can be influenced by a number of factors, including disease course, timing of referral and understanding options for care.
The agreement between UCSF and Hospice by the Bay seeks to bridge these discrepancies.
The shared vision of the UCSF-Hospice by the Bay relationship is to provide the highest quality of care to patients receiving hospice and palliative care services and their families throughout the Bay Area, including the most vulnerable patient populations. The intent of the affiliation is to create a leading hospice and palliative care clinical program that would be measured by the number of patients served, residents trained and programs established at other health care providers, and increase research activities to better serve future patients.
Through the joint agreement, Hospice by the Bay will maintain its current status as an independent, non-profit organization and continue to provide care for patients throughout Northern California. It also will continue its current partnerships and relationships with other health care providers, as well as raise charitable donations to support its community-based programs, including care for the underserved.
UCSF is the nation's leading university exclusively focused on health. Now celebrating the 150th anniversary of its founding as a medical college, UCSF is dedicated to transforming health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. It includes top-ranked graduate schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy; a graduate division with world-renowned programs in the biological sciences, a preeminent biomedical research enterprise and top-tier hospitals, UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals.
Hospice by the Bay, a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization, is the first hospice in California and the second in the United States. For 40 years, its team of physicians, nurses, chaplains, social workers, home health aides, bereavement counselors and volunteers has served patients and families. Currently they serve the communities of Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Sonoma counties, and the city of Napa. Licensed by the State of California, Hospice by the Bay is certified by Medicare and Medi-Cal, yet it also depends on the generous charitable support from members of the community. Tax-deductible donations ensure that everyone who needs it has access to compassionate hospice care. Hospice by the Bay also is accredited by the Community Health Accreditation Program, Inc. (CHAP).