President Jimmy Carter Starts Hospice Care
Queen Visits Hospice Home
July 2022, Queen Elizabeth II makes a surprise visit to open a new hospice home.
Life Expectancy from UCSF
Prognostic Calculators may be useful for some clinicians and patients in helping understand life expectancy based on historic medical outcomes.
Our Scope of Care
A leading provider of hospice & palliative care services throughout Southern California, Supportive Health Group’s board-certified physicians and nurse practitioners comfort patients daily across multiple counties in hospitals, skilled facilities, and at home. They visit patients regularly to provide management oversight on patient care plans and to ensure efficacy and compliance of medication, pain management, wound care, comfort, and therapy, etc.
Our Diversity of Services
With our Supportive Care Medical Group and Supportive Care Network partners, we can offer advanced procedures like paracentesis, and manage pain and chronic disease as well as palliative and hospice care.
Our hospice medical director liaises with the patient’s primary care physician to deliver the best care every day. The hospice team works in tandem with our expert registered nurses, licensed vocational nurses, social workers, trained chaplains, certified home health aides, personal assistants, and (as needed) dietitians, and physical/occupational/speech therapists.
Accredited by The Joint Commission—an independent, not-for-profit accrediting body for health care organizations—we align with its purpose to define and advance the highest level of hospice care available. With over 30 years of expertise, we’ve aimed for excellence, to serve above and beyond merely the acceptable standards.
Our Philosophy of Care
Supportive Health Group values the human spirit and empowers patients to maximize their independence and focus on what’s truly important. Their life!
We believe that no matter what age, physical condition, or mental acuity, our strength of individual character thrives on continued personal growth and sense of fulfillment. This human impetus drives us to help enrich the lives of those we serve with the best care possible. In addition to medical services, our holistic approach to health care also includes comfort, respite, emotional, and spiritual care.
Our Mission to Care
At Supportive Health Group, we value and enjoy caring for our patients as we would for our very own loved ones. We commit ourselves always to treat patients like people, with compassion and dignity. Our objective for Comprehensive Care removes barriers and overcomes obstacles to access in order to make hospice nursing available to all eligible patients. This passion drives Supportive Health Group to sustain its reputation as a hospice of choice – for our patients, our families, our employees, and our volunteers.
We’d like you to join with us on our mission to expand compassionate hospice care to those in need.
Levels of Care
Routine Home Care
Enjoy an exceptional blend of quality nursing and wellness services in the comfort of your own home.
Routine Home Care for hospice occurs in the patient’s place of residence. A specially trained and compassionate staff of medical, spiritual, and social work professionals; and, volunteers deliver the care. They provide assistance with pain mitigation, skilled nursing care, symptom management, and the activities of daily life. To ease the process, the interdisciplinary hospice team routinely coordinates the care (amongst themselves and) with the patient and family.
Thanks to the assistance of the hospice team, most patients will be able to remain in their place of residence for the duration of their illness, whether it is a private home or a nursing facility. However, Routine Hospice Care also serves patients who live in a long-term care facility or nursing home. This care comes in addition to the normal nursing care provided by that facility and is covered by Medicare under a separate benefit. As such, the interdisciplinary hospice team and nursing facility staff will coordinate different aspects of the care with the patient and family.
Routine Hospice Care remains the most common level of hospice care provided to patients with limited life expectancy.
In general, Routine Hospice Care includes—but is not limited to—nursing and home health aide services, as well as counseling and social worker visits. It includes intermittent visits from all the members of the Interdisciplinary Team. When the care services included in the patient care plan relate to a terminal diagnosis, patients may receive Routine Hospice Care wherever they call home:
- a private residence
- a hospice residential care facility
- a nursing facility
- an assisted living facility or
- an adult care home.
A patient will be placed at this level of routine care if they reside at home (or a long-term care facility) and the symptoms of their illness are controlled with medication and treatments.
Routine Hospice Care patients have access to the following services:
- Visiting Nurses
- Home Health Aide
- Social Worker Visits
- Nutritional Assessments
- Chaplains/Spiritual Care
- On-Call Services 24/7 as Needed
- Pain and Symptom Management
- Medical Equipment, Medications, and Supplies
A plan of care developed by the patient and family, the hospice team, and the physician(s) will identify and outline health and hospice needs. The ensuing needs of the patient then determine the appropriate number of visits from hospice team members. The care plan serves as a guideline to assist all those providing care and support to the patient. At this level of care the patient also has access to an on-call hospice nurse twenty-four hours a day.
Nurses, physicians, social workers, nurse assistants, chaplains, and volunteers will work together efficiently and effectively to manage the symptoms of the patient’s illness, whether physical or emotional. The Supportive Health Group team will strive to understand each patient’s goals for living this phase of life.
For families, two critical decisions involve knowing when it is time to decide on hospice and choosing the right hospice care provider. The seasoned Supportive Health Group staff are available to help guide patients and their families through the decision-making process about end-of-life care.
Continuous Hospice Care
Continuous Hospice Care is offered only during periods of ‘crisis’ to maintain a patient in their home.
Continuous care for hospice patients is similar to inpatient care, except that the patient may remain in their home instead of being admitted to a facility. Patients can receive continuous nursing care to achieve and sustain symptom control when uncontrolled, yet they choose to stay in their home.
On occasion, a medical crisis can occur which requires this advanced level of close medical supervision. Supportive Health Group has the ability to provide continuous, around-the-clock licensed nursing care for hospice patients so they can avoid hospitalization. Once the medical crisis ends, the patient can return to Routine Home Care.
When Is Continuous Care Considered?
If a patient develops physical or emotional symptoms that cannot be properly managed with routine hospice care, continuous 24/7 nursing care may step in as a solution.
Continuous care provides an advanced level of care in the patient’s home environment. A hospice nurse or home health aide remains present in the patient’s home environment for up to 24 hours per day to administer medications, provide treatments, care, and support until the symptoms come under control.
What Type of Symptoms Require Continuous Care?
- Unrelieved Severe Pain
- Severe Nausea and Vomiting
- Severe Shortness of Breath
- Anxiety or Panic Attacks
- A Breakdown in the Primary Caregiver Support System
Continuous care is considered a short-term level of care that staff generally reevaluate every 24 hours.
Supportive Health Group has extensive experience in providing crisis care. Our Hospice Nurses and Home Health Aides stay with the patient for extended periods of time, night and day, to meet immediate and urgent patient needs. Not every hospice patient will require continuous care, but—if needed—it provides great peace of mind to patients and their loved ones.
For families, two critical decisions involve knowing when it is time to decide on hospice and choosing the right hospice care provider. The seasoned Supportive Hospice Care staff are available to help guide patients and their families through the decision-making process about end-of-life care.
General Inpatient Care
Some patients may have symptoms so severe that they cannot get adequate treatment at home. Or, they may feel more comfortable receiving treatment at an inpatient facility. For these patients, inpatient care may be the best option. Some patients, already living in a nursing residence, can benefit from an inpatient level of professional care already offered by that facility’s services. Others, without such, would have to be admitted to an inpatient establishment.
Admission to Inpatient Care requires the same presence of symptoms as Continuous Care (above), only the setting may be different. With Inpatient Care, around-the-clock nurses will similarly administer medications, treatments, and emotional support to make the patient more comfortable. We can provide inpatient hospice services in three types of facilities:
- Hospice Homes –Specialized accredited facilities designed specifically around nursing care for end-of-life patients, often in a more intimate, home-like environment.
- Hospitals – An outside hospice company, like ours, may lease a unit in the hospital or another accredited facility to provide inpatient nursing care. Our hospice-trained staff would then provide around-the-clock care onsite. An external hospice organization may also have a contract with a hospital that allows internal hospital staff to provide 24-hour care, with hospice staff supplementing that care.
- Long Term Care Facility – As with a hospital, a hospice company may lease a unit in a nursing home or contract with the nursing home to provide inpatient care, with hospice staff supplementing.
Similar to Continuous Care, Inpatient Care serves as short-term and would be discontinued once a patient feels comfortable and regains symptom control. Afterwards, individuals admitted to an inpatient unit may then be discharged back home.
At times, a hospice patient may require inpatient care when their symptoms worsen or can no longer be managed successfully at home. When pain or symptoms cannot be controlled with routine hospice home care, the patient will require extra assistance or more advanced medical attention until the symptoms subside.
To make the patient comfortable and safe, Supportive Health Group takes diligent actions to control these symptoms. To accomplish this, the family may temporarily place the patient in a hospice home, hospital, or acute care facility. There, staff make a real-time assessment of the patient’s condition and their symptom status in order to evaluate the proper course of action to take. The hospice care team and the patient’s physician(s) work together to ensure the patient achieves, and maintains, a tolerable level of comfort. Once we achieve both pain and symptom management, the patient can return home to resume Routine Home Care.
We step in so family caregivers can step away for bit of relief…
Respite Care serves not only the hospice patient, but also the primary caregivers and family who need rest from the constant caring for a terminally-ill patient. This care utilizes several local nursing facilities, as well as private respite homes available for respite care. They welcome patients for up to five (5) days per episode, according to Medicare guidelines. Medicare covers Respite Care costs as part of its hospice benefit. Ask your hospice team for more information regarding places nearby that provide Respite Care.
There may come a time during your family member’s illness that you, as a caregiver, may need some time away from the day-to-day challenges of constant care-giving. Caregiver stress, or burnout, can lead to your own emotional distress and physical illness, which then interferes with your ability to provide care to your suffering loved one.
Respite Care temporarily transfers a hospice patient to an inpatient hospice unit, a hospice house, a nursing home, or an acute care hospital with dedicated hospice beds. This allows your home environment a break from the stress of an ongoing medical focus.
What Is Respite Care for Hospice Caregivers?
Respite Care comes as a gift of free time. The word ‘respite’ means rest or relief. It offers to the primary caregiver some ‘relief’ from the day-to-day routine. It provides a combination of hospice care professionals, volunteers, and other family members to take over responsibilities for a maximum of five days. While the primary caregivers, themselves, rest.
We design hospice Respite Care programs to provide temporary, short-term assistance in the care of an individual with terminal illness. These allow the caregivers—often the spouse, children or other family members—to take some time away from the patient. And, even allow the patient some time away from the accustomed caregiver. This respite allows everyone to emotionally recharge and physically refresh themselves. So they can, then, better manage the day-to-day challenges of caregiving in the face of a chronic life-threatening illness.
In some instances, the patient may be admitted to an inpatient hospice facility, a nursing facility, or a hospital, while the primary caregiver takes a break from providing care. In others, the family may wish to go on a vacation or just take a few days apart so they can rest, recharge, and get some much-needed uninterrupted sleep. In either case, Respite Care rejuvenates the spirit and revitalizes relationships.
Our Diversity of Services
Palliative Care differs from curative care in that it intends not to cure the disease, but to comfort the patient. Typical curative measures, such as routine IV’s, blood transfusions, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery may no longer apply. Unless, the physician and the hospice staff determine these procedures will, in some way, enhance the patient’s quality of life.
The focus of Palliative Care at end-of-life centers on quality of life. Terminal illnesses require more than just medical care. They require comfort, too. Palliative Care provides people living with serious illnesses relief from pain and other symptoms to improve comfort and their level of well-being.
What Is Palliative Care?
Palliative care incorporates specialized treatment options that offers advanced pain and symptom management to patients with chronic, progressive illness – such as heart disease, lung disease, advanced dementia, or cancer – regardless of their prognosis.
Palliative Care consists of:
- Pain Relief
- Symptom Treatment
- Emotional Support and
- Spiritual Support
All of which help ease the physical and emotional pain and suffering caused by a debilitating disease.
The Palliative Care program at Supportive Health Group focuses on alleviating the patient’s pain and adverse symptoms through medications, integrated therapies, and personal counseling that nurture the body as well as the soul.
If you are living with a chronic condition or have been diagnosed with an extended illness that has not yet reached an advanced stage, our palliative teams may help you find the reassurance and contentment you need to carry on with daily life. We make Palliative Care services are available to family members and caregivers as well.
What Is the Timing of Palliative Care?
On the one hand, hospice care will aid people in the final months of life. Non-hospice Palliative Care, on the other hand, assists at any time during a patient’s illness. Unlike hospice, patients can also receive Palliative Care at the same time as you’re receiving curative care.
Palliative Care can occur at the same time as any other treatments for illness. It does not depend upon your prognosis. So, you can start it early. You do not need to wait for (hospice) services to begin. Because of the stress associated with pain and other symptoms, the palliative care team can help reduce its impact on your family.
Our team of specialists includes a large number of Board-Certified hospice and Palliative Care physicians and nurses across the state. Their education and expertise make them uniquely qualified to assist patients with acute, chronic, and extended illnesses. We strive to achieve maximum comfort and minimal symptoms, while maintaining the highest possible level of living.
What Palliative Care Services Do We Provide?
We attend to patients in the home and hospital, as well as to nursing home residents who have advanced chronic illness. We also minister to their loved ones. For example, we:
- Help families set clear goals for treatment.
- Support them through difficult medical decisions.
- Evaluate a patient’s pain and other symptoms.
- Make treatment recommendations specific to their situation.
- Identify additional support services in the community.
- Facilitate communication among doctors, nurses, counselors, and other healthcare providers.
- Enhance coordination of interdisciplinary care.
- And, treat your loved one the same way we’d like ours to be treated
The Palliative Care team takes into account the unique needs of the patient and offers recommendations for managing symptoms, such as:
- Lack of Appetite
- Dry Mouth
- Bed Sores
- Skin Irritation
In addition to drug therapies, we suggest non-pharmacological solutions that may help comfort patients and relieve stress. These include reiki, massage, spiritual counseling, music, and pet therapy.
Palliative Care Makes All The Difference
The Supportive Health Group team includes physicians, nurses, social workers and spiritual counselors. Together with your own doctor, they make sure you receive:
- Expert treatment of your pain and symptoms
- Close communication about your illness and treatment choices
- Coordination of your care among all of your healthcare providers
- Emotional support for you and your family
- Referral and coordination of home care and hospice services
- 24-hour support
Volunteering with Supportive Health Group Hospice and Palliative Care
Hospice care in the U.S. was founded by volunteers. And, this commitment to volunteer service continues today. In fact, Medicare requires that hospices have trained volunteers as a part of the services they provide.
By being a hospice volunteer, you provide important services to a hospice organization and to the people it serves. Whether that’s to provide companionship to a person in the final months or weeks of life, to offer support to family members and caregivers, or to help with community outreach and fundraising. The contributions and presence of volunteers remain essential to the caring work provided by our nation’s hospice programs for their patients.
As a hospice volunteer, you’ll sense a personal satisfaction from knowing that you made an impact in another person’s life and in your community. Generally, more than 400,000 trained volunteers provide more than 19 million hours of hospice volunteer service every year.
Our Supportive Health Group Hospice volunteers offer companionship, practical support, and compassionate help. Some interact directly with patients and families. Others prefer to work behind the scenes in an office setting. You help determine and decide, as a volunteer, which tasks you’re best suited to perform. Possible volunteers duties would be to:
- Make a friendly visit that lift a patient’s spirits
- Read, or provide a comforting touch
- Play or sing soothing music for patients
- Run errands for patients and families
- Stay with patients so family members can get a much-needed rest
- Keep vigil with patients in their final hours
- Provide special volunteer support to veteran patients
- Help with the agency’s office support tasks
- And other helpful, compassionate assistance.
Gracious visits and timely support make our hospice volunteers such an essential part of the Supportive Hospice Care experience and network. If you find your heart in this role, contact us to learn more about volunteering.
Becoming a Volunteer
When you become a volunteer, we will provide you with a detailed orientation to the hospice program. Then, you will fully understand our caring philosophy and goals, and gain the skills needed to assist patients and their families. As a Supportive Hospice Care volunteer, you can donate as much or as little of your time as you desire. Needed duties vary, so that you can find that area of service that most uniquely suits you.
Every hospice organization has a screening process and volunteer training program. The best way to begin is to learn more about volunteering. Contact Supportive Health Group for more details.