It’s estimated that 70 million people can benefit from palliative care or hospice services over the next 20 years.




Palliative care improves the quality of life of patients and their families by relieving the pain, symptoms and stress of a serious or debilitating illness. Designed to help patients feel better, palliative care can help to relieve symptoms such as loss of appetite, pain, nausea and sleeplessness, as well as provide help with health care decision making, managing health care and supporting family members. Palliative care services are available in many hospitals and community programs, and may be offered to patients who are undergoing curative care for their illness.


Considered to be the model for quality, compassionate care for people facing a life-limiting illness or injury, hospice care involves a team-oriented approach to expert medical care, pain management, and emotional and spiritual support expressly tailored to the patient's needs and wishes. Support is provided to the patient's loved ones as well. Hospice is available for those patients who will no longer benefit from curative care.

At the center of hospice and palliative care is the belief that each of us has the right to die pain-free and with dignity, and that our families will receive the necessary support to allow us to do so.


Hospice Services

In many communities there are several competing hospices from which to choose. The following questions will help you decide what is right for you:

  • From the very first phone call, is staff helpful, concerned? Do they answer your questions?

  • If you are uncertain about whether hospice is right for you, do they offer an initial consultation so you have an opportunity to ask questions and determine what you want?

  • Are you within their geographic service area?

  • How quickly will the hospice services begin?
  • What is expected from the family caregiver? Will they help you find additional help if needed?

  • What will their responsibilities be? What members of the hospice team will you see and how often?

  • Do they have a relationship with your personal physician?

  • Ask them to explain their 24/7 availability in a situation when you need immediate help.
  • How do they define "palliative" or comfort care? Are certain treatments automatically excluded? If you require expensive therapies or devices to manage pain and other symptoms, will they be available?

  • What out-of-pocket expenses should you expect?

  • Do they provide services for residents in different settings? A nursing home? An assisted living facility?

Services are provided by a coordinated team that draws upon many different kinds of professionals who provide medical care and support services.

The team also ensures that services and resources are available and provided when needed, without the family having to locate and arrange for them. When staying at home, family and friends are encouraged to participate in the patient's care as much as possible. When someone doesn't have family who can serve as caregivers, the team may be able to help identify friends and people in the community who volunteer to help. The hospice team remains available for help and support to the patient and family.

Specific services include:
  • Chaplain
  • Home Health Aide
  • Hospice Aides
  • Nurses
  • Pharmacist
  • Physician (Your personal physician is a welcome part of the hospice team and may continue to bill for professional services.)
  • Social Workers
  • Trained Volunteers
Additional services:
  • Bereavement counseling and support is provided to the family for up to 13 months or longer, if needed, after the death of their loved one.
  • All medications related to the terminal diagnosis.
  • Medical supplies and appliances related to the terminal illness.
  • Patient and family education (i.e. the team teaches the family caregivers how to provide care.)
  • Short-term inpatient care, including respite care.
  • Other services as required, including: physical, occupational, dietary and speech-language therapy.
What's not included:

Hospice insurers, including Medicare, don't pay for round-the-clock home nursing. In addition, experimental treatments, clinical trials or other medical services aimed at curing the disease are not covered. Funeral services are also not covered by hospice.


Hospice is covered by Medicare, Medi-Cal and most commercial insurance.

Insurance pays for a wide range of support services that are aimed at keeping the patient as comfortable as possible. While each hospice has its own policies concerning payment for care, it is a principle of hospice to offer services based upon need rather than the ability to pay. While hospice care is a covered benefit under many insurance plans, many hospices also rely heavily, if not entirely, upon community support for donations to provide care to those who cannot otherwise afford it.

With many diagnoses, it can be very difficult to predict exactly how long someone may have to live. Too often, because of this uncertainty, people are not referred to hospice care early enough and receive just weeks or even days of care. In reality, there is no penalty for under estimating survival time in hospice care. Initially a physician certifies that the patient has a life expectancy of six months or less, if the disease follows its normal course. The first two certifications are for 90 days. Thereafter the physician must re-certify eligibility every 60 days. As long as the patient is re-certified, he/she remains eligible for hospice, even when it exceeds the six months time period.



Online Market Report

2015 Side by Side Comparison of Federal and State Regulations

Tools to better serve patients

California Hospice & Palliative Care Association's (CHAPCA) Privacy Statement

CHAPCA is committed to respecting the privacy and security of all visitors to our website. We recognize that when you choose to provide us with information about yourself, you trust us to protect your privacy and to provide you with choices about how that information is shared.

By using our website, you consent to the collection and use of your information by CHAPCA, as described below.

Types of Information Requested

Users may visit the website without giving CHAPCA any personal information. However, in order to gain access to pages restricted to our membership, users must be a member of CHAPCA.

CHAPCA will collect name, title, institution, mailing address, telephone numbers, fax numbers, email address, contact and demographic information voluntarily provided by individuals who register to access CHAPCA's member's only content. For individuals who register for conferences or make publications purchases, additional payment related information will be collected.

How Your Personal Information Is Used

CHAPCA does not disclose to third parties any information it gathers from the website which could be used to track your individual access and navigation of our site. CHAPCA may use email and street addresses voluntarily provided by site visitors to notify them of updates, products, services or upcoming events. Site visitors who do not wish to receive such notifications via email can choose to opt out of receiving such information at any time, by indicating either at time of registration, or upon receipt of any promotional email.

Non-identifiable website visitor data may be collected and used in the aggregate to help shape and direct the creation and maintenance of content.

Credit Card Security

Currently, this site collects information (e.g., name, title, institution, mailing address, telephone number, fax number, e-mail address, payment information) voluntarily provided by individuals who register for CHAPCA's conferences, education programs or other products and services. Sensitive information, such as your credit card number, are encrypted and protected with the encryption software SSL. All printed credit card information is destroyed.


Refunds, less administrative fees, are offered for all educational event registrations when requests are submitted in writing by the refund deadline for each event. For deadlines and fees, please see each registration form. Refunds are not available for membership dues.


Messages that you send to us via email may not be secure. CHAPCA suggests that you do not send any confidential information to us by email. If you choose to send confidential information to us by email, you accept the risk that a third party may intercept your information.


As a convenience to users, CHAPCA's website contains links to sites or services created and maintained by other organizations. CHAPCA does not control, and is not responsible for, the accuracy, timeliness, security or even the continued availability or existence of this outside information. Opinions expressed on other sites are not necessarily those of CHAPCA, nor does CHAPCA endorse, warrant, or guarantee products or services described or offered on other sites. Neither is CHAPCA responsible for the contents of any websites that choose to link to this website. If you have any questions and/or concern regarding what is done with information provided via this site, please e-mail your concerns to Susan Negreen, CHAPCA President & CEO,