After 38 years of serving families in our community, Hospice of the East Bay still addresses the following questions every day. Even if your life is not yet touched by the need for end-of-life care, this information will help you prepare to make informed decisions when the time comes.

1. Are all hospice providers part of the same organization?
No. There are many agencies and organizations that provide hospice care. Some are for-profit and some are non-profit. There is no “umbrella” or parent hospice organization–agencies which provide care are independent of each other.

2. What is the difference between for-profit and non-profit hospices?
A for-profit hospice is a corporate entity that exists to care for patients as a means of returning profits to its shareholders. As a not-for-profit agency, our mission is to provide the best and most complete services to all patients, insured or not. Last year alone, Hospice of the East Bay’s registered nurses made over ten thousand more patient visits (to homes, assisted care facilities, skilled nursing facilities and our own Bruns House) than our closest for-profit competitor.*

3. I’m not ready to die, so why do I need hospice?
Hospice care can begin as soon as you are diagnosed with a terminal prognosis of six months or less and can be extended as needed. Hospice care neither speeds nor delays the course of an illness, although most patients feel better after enrolling in hospice because their pain and other symptoms are well managed. Hospice is about enhancing the quality and dignity of life for terminally ill patients and their families by meeting their medical, emotional, spiritual, practical and bereavement needs.

4. What is the benefit of entering a hospice program earlier rather than later?
Hospice care is as much for the family as it is for the patient. Families and loved ones often wait too long to begin hospice care and therefore do not experience all of the services we provide. Our doctors, nurses, social workers, home health aides, spiritual care workers, bereavement counselors and patient volunteers all work together to take on the burden of caregiving so that the family can spend quality time together. We also provide resources and information which help prepare a family for the often complicated process ahead.

5. Is hospice care affordable?
Hospice care is a service covered by Medicare, Medi-Cal and most insurance companies. Hospice of the East Bay’s full array of services is available to all medically qualified patients, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. In 2011, we provided more than $90,000 to care for patients in our community. We were able to do this because of the generous contributions of our supporters, who believe in the need to maintain a thriving non-profit hospice presence in our community.

6. Where can I receive hospice services?
Hospice care is usually provided in your own home, that of a friend or relative, or in a skilled nursing, assisted living, or residential care facility. Unique to Contra Costa County, our Bruns House inpatient facility offers privacy and quiet that cannot be found in a hospital, combined with intensive around-the-clock care that cannot be achieved at home.

Visit our Hospice Care Page to learn more about Hospice East Bay services.

*Source: Office of Statewide Health Planning & Development, Annual Utilization Report 2011