Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I choose Mission Hospice?

As a local, independent nonprofit organization, our bottom line is patient care. We’re committed to quality care, serving our community with a culturally sensitive and individual approach to hospice care. Founded in 1979, Mission Hospice has supported thousands of patients and their families through illness and bereavement.

We tailor a care plan especially for your needs, and our programs offer a continuum of care to support you throughout the last years of life. Mission Hospice has a low patient-to-nurse ratio, allowing us to provide the personalized care for which we are known. We can often provide same-day service upon request, and have a multilingual staff to serve our diverse community.

To learn more about whether our care is appropriate for you or a loved one, please contact us to arrange a complimentary phone call or visit.

What kinds of services does Mission Hospice offer? It’s about life! Mission Hospice helps patients live life to the fullest, offering comfort and compassion for those with life-limiting illness. We provide a continuum of care designed to serve patients – and their families – at every stage of a serious illness, from community education and advance care planning to palliative care, Transitions, hospice, and grief support. We are known for our personal, individualized care – whether in patients’ homes, assisted living, board and care, skilled nursing facilities, in our hospice house, or elsewhere.

What is palliative care?

Palliative care offers people with serious illness an extra level of physical, emotional, and spiritual support to improve quality of life. This kind of care includes pain and symptom management, spiritual and emotional support, and education. Our palliative care team works collaboratively with your primary care physician to support you, your family, and your caregivers. For more information, watch this video of our workshop, An Introduction to Palliative and Hospice Care.

What is hospice care?

Hospice is palliative care for someone with a life-limiting illness. Hospice involves a team-oriented, holistic approach to expert medical care, pain and symptom management, and emotional and spiritual support expressly tailored to the patient’s needs and wishes. Hospice also supports the patient’s loved ones. 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 this to occur. In this video, our RNs explain hospice care. Here are some common myths about hospice.

When is it time for hospice?

Patients with terminal diagnoses of six months or less and who wish to maintain quality of life may be ready for hospice care. Hospice is chosen by the patient with the consent of the primary care physician. We have found that the quality of life of patients and families is highest when the patient is in hospice care for as long as possible. When the decision to start care is late, both patient and family can suffer unnecessarily.

What if I’m not ready for hospice?

Entering hospice care is a personal decision – and one that is always yours to make, or change. Studies have shown that hospice care is most effective when patients are with their teams for months, allowing them to build trusting relationships and participate in decisions about their care. Families have more time to prepare for the changes ahead. And we as medical professionals have the opportunity to manage pain and symptoms sooner, helping to avoid crises and hospital stays.

Our Transitions program helps patients and families adapt to the changes that accompany living with a serious illness – changes that can be difficult and confusing. Transitions offers supportive services to patients with life-limiting illness who are not ready for hospice.

Can I keep my regular doctor after I enter hospice care?

Absolutely. Our medical staff works closely with your primary care physician to develop an individualized care plan for you.

Will hospice care hasten my death?

No – hospice care neither hastens death nor prolongs life. Hospice care allows you to remain comfortably in your home until the disease ends your life. When you begin hospice care, your doctor and your hospice team support you and your family throughout the physical, emotional, and spiritual changes that a terminal illness brings.

What is the End of Life Option Act?

This California law (sometimes called ELOA or EOLOA) allows adults with a terminal illness in the last six months of life to request medication that will end their life – a process also called medical aid in dying. Patients must make this request voluntarily, and if they choose to ingest the medication, must do so without assistance.

Mission Hospice respects our patients’ wishes and beliefs. We will never suggest or recommend this option, but will support and accompany those who choose to pursue it. You can learn more about the End of Life Option Act here

Does a referral to hospice mean that my doctor or I have given up?

A hospice referral means that when all other treatments are no longer helpful, you and those who love you want your last days to be as comfortable and as peaceful as possible.

How much does this care care cost?

Mission Hospice is committed to supporting people throughout the challenges of a serious illness. Medicare and private insurance pay for care for the majority of our hospice patients. However, our services go beyond the levels that are reimbursed by Medicare and private insurance, and contributions from the community help make up the difference. Donors also support our free community programs, including community education, grief support, and Transitions.

Where is hospice care provided? What if my loved one is ready for hospice, but can’t stay at home?

In most cases, hospice care is provided in your home or the home of a loved one; you can also receive hospice care in hospitals, nursing homes, and other long-term care facilities. Mission House, our hospice house in Redwood City, is an option for patients at the end of life who need intensive, round-the-clock symptom management that cannot be provided at home. The house also offers a safety net for patients whose caregivers need extra support – reducing hospitalizations and offering families the emotional, spiritual, and bereavement support they need.

We can help you and your family find the best place for hospice care.

How do I request care?

Your primary physician can refer you to to any of our services. And our outreach team would be happy to talk with you or your family – learn more about how we talk to families about hospice. Just get in touch with us at or 650.554.1000.