Mission Hospice and COVID-19

Across the globe, COVID-19 has disrupted lives and challenged us to adapt to difficult circumstances. While so much has changed, one thing that’s remained constant is our commitment to providing compassion, care, and kindness. Mission Hospice continues to support patients and families in the San Mateo and Santa Clara County area with exceptional end-of-life care, grief support, and education. We have been serving this community since 1979, and we are here for you.

Patient care

The health of our patients, staff, volunteers, and community members is our priority, and we are monitoring and following the recommendations of the San Mateo County Health Department, California Department of Public Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

We are continuing to provide patient care in patients homes, facilities, and our hospice house, with all necessary precautions. As always, we have an RN available by phone 24/7. We are accepting new patients across all of our programs. If you or someone you know may be considering hospice, please call us at 650.554.1000 and ask to speak with our Clinical Outreach team.

Our teams are going above and beyond to provide care – through the pandemic, and even through wildfires and power outages. Read the story of one team here

Information for our patients and families:
  • Your nurse case manager should be checking in with you regularly to assess your needs. If you have any questions or concerns, please call us at 650.554.1000.
  • To minimize the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the health of our patients, our staff, and our community, we are currently conducting many patient visits by phone and video. Of course, patient care necessitates an in-person visit, we will be there.
  • When we do make an in-person visit, our staff will ask screening questions in advance to determine if anyone in the family may have been exposed to COVID-19. Any family members exhibiting respiratory symptoms are requested to move to a separate room during our visit. Nearly all of our clinical staff are now fully vaccinated.
  • Mission House patients and families should contact us directly for the latest visiting protocol.

Grief support

Many people, even those who haven’t lost a loved one, are experiencing grief at this time – and we have suggestions about how to manage grief during COVID. Our grief support groups and workshops have moved online, where we are reaching more people than ever. Check our Events calendar for the current status of all events.

We also offer individual grief support by phone and video. For information, please call us at 650.554.1000.

Community education

Our wide range of community education programs are now online, providing opportunities to learn and talk about how to live and die well. From our popular author and movie series to presentations from nationally recognized experts in resiliency, grief, and advance care planning, these virtual programs have become a resource for people around the world. Check our Events calendar for the current status of all events.

The pandemic has more people thinking and talking about advance care planning. We have moved our free Take Charge series online, where we can help people plan for their future care based on what matters most to them. Our Take Charge Toolkit and other advance care planning resources remain free and available to all on our Take Charge page.

Resources for our community

We urge everyone to follow the restrictions and guidelines in place. For all of us, and especially for caregivers, self-care is very important right now. You can find resources for caregivers here.

This two-minute video explains the importance of washing with plain soap and water.

We encourage everyone to get some fresh air, listen to music, and connect with others by phone or video.

Grief is more complex now, especially for those with underlying depression or anxiety. Losing a loved one during the pandemic and not being able to be with them physically at the end of life is devastating. There is collective grief with the enormity of loss around the world to this virus, especially among the less privileged. Our bereavement coordinator Isabel Stenzel has written about grief in the time of COVID-19.

We also recommend these tips for managing the contagion of anxiety from Psychology Today, this BBC guide on How to protect your mental health, and this meditation for anxiety and stress from Love, Serve, Remember Foundation. The Guardian offers The family lockdown guide: how to emotionally prepare for coronovirus quarantine.

For those who qualify, local drive-through testing for COVID-19 is available at the San Mateo County Expo Center, with results provided within a few days. If you are concerned that you or a family member is infected, please call your primary care physician or local hospital first for guidance.

During uncertain times, it’s normal to want someone to talk to. For non-hospice-specific grief and/or loneliness, please consider these free resources for phone support:

  • Institute on Aging’s Friendship Line: 800.971.0016
  • Dignity Memorial’s Compassion Helpline: 866.649.9641
  • Contra Costa County 24-hour Grief Hotline: 800.837.1818
  • StarVista’s 24/7 Crisis Hotline: 650.579.0350

Seeking donations 

Personal protective equipment (PPE) for our clinical team is now scarce, and much more expensive than it was prior to the pandemic. We welcome donations from the community. We are most in need of N95 masks, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes, but we will also gratefully accept gloves, gowns, and surgical masks. If you’d like to donate equipment or sew masks, please contact Wendy at 650.532.2333 or by email.

We are most grateful for the way our entire community has come together during this crisis. As we navigate into the future together, we are so grateful to our donors for their ongoing support, which is more important now than ever before. 

Compassion and kindness

In the 41 years since our founding, Mission Hospice has always been known for the compassionate care we provide – not only for our patients and families, but also for one another. In this time of uncertainty, that compassion and kindness is all the more needed.