A short timeline of Mission Hospice


1800_Photo_mission_hospice_plaqueMarch 1979: The nonprofit Mission Hospice is born

Six months after co-founders Helen Lagen and Mac Nash had first discussed the need for end-of-life care on the Peninsula, a group of dedicated volunteers incorporates Mission Hospice as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Officers include President Helen Lagen, Vice President Marguerite Nash, Secretary Helen Campbell, and Treasurer F.M. Donahoe. Physician Pierre Salmon volunteers as the group’s first Medical Director.

The name is taken from the Mission Dolores Hospice built by the Spanish Padres at the southwest corner of Baywood and El Camino Real in San Mateo.

October 1979: Compassionate care from dedicated volunteers

With a handful of grants and a large cadre of trained volunteers, Mission Hospice cares for its first patient, Mac Nash, in October 1979. The group would add just a few part-time staff members, but continues to rely entirely upon volunteer caregivers until 1995.

1979.Care Team volunteer nursesFULL

January 1984: Enduring community support

Following in the footsteps of the earlier “Friends of Hospice” group, community volunteers organize the Mission Hospice Auxiliary to raise funds in support of local hospice patients. Auxiliary events, along with generous contributions from community members, help cover the cost of providing patient care.

April 1990: Bereavement support group forms

To help grieving community members, Mission Hospice begins holding regular support group meetings. These will continue and grow, becoming an important part of Mission Hospice’s service to family members.

Mission Hospice now includes 45 volunteer caretakers and 4.5 paid staff members. By this time, the group has cared for more than 1,500 terminally ill patients and their families throughout San Mateo County.Cutting the ribbon on the new Mission Hospice Office, 2002

April 1995: Mission Hospice is certified by Medicare

By adding patient care staff to its group of trained volunteer caretakers, Mission Hospice becomes Medicare-certified, allowing it to be reimbursed for the hospice service it provides to Medicare patients.

January 2006: Transitions program offers practical support to patients not ready for hospice

Adding to the core hospice service, the organization launches a program offering social work and volunteer help for patients who are not yet ready for hospice care, but who need care management, emotional support, and practical assistance.

Altogether, Mission Hospice has cared for nearly 5000 patients by this time.

November 2009: Advanced Care program completes continuum of care

To complete the continuum of care offered to patients, Mission Hospice adds Advanced Care – skilled nursing and medical social work for homebound patients with life-limiting illnesses who are not yet ready for hospice.

The program becomes state-certified in June 2010, and by 2013 is serving more than 300 patients a year.

July 2014: Looking forward — A hospice house campaign

Mission Hospice staff and board members, 2014

As hospice grows in popularity throughout the nation, it’s clear that Mission Hospice needs to be able to serve patients who cannot remain in their homes at the end of life.

Mission Hospice launches a $6million capital campaign to support the opening of San Mateo County’s first hospice house. The Sequoia Healthcare District pledges $1 million to the hospice house campaign.

In its first 35 years, Mission Hospice has cared for nearly 8,000 patients and families throughout the San Mateo County area.

October 2015: Mission House opens

Mission Hospice purchased an exceptional 12-bed residential care home in San Mateo’s Hayward Park neighborhood, which becomes an excellent option for  supporting patients and families in the last weeks of life. Our Hospice House campaign continues to raise funds to support the purchase, start-up costs, and care for uninsured patients.

January 2016: Ten thousand patient mark reached

As the organization celebrates its 37th anniversary, Mission Hospice cares for our 10,000th patient. Nationally, demand for hospice care continues to rise along with awareness of the need for compassionate, peaceful end-of-life care.