What is Hospice?

Whether you’re considering hospice or palliative care, there is a difference you should understand. Hospice provides a team of healthcare professionals who deliver medical, emotional, and spiritual care to terminally ill patients and their families. In addition to healthcare workers, medications, and medical equipment, some hospices also provide limited access to volunteers and integrative therapies. The goal of hospice it to support a person in having as peaceful and comfortable a death as possible.

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Click here to see a printable summary of our Hospice or Palliative Care assessment process.

The term Hospice Care is often used interchangeably with End-of-Life Care, but they are not one and the same. While hospice is a valuable service, there are often huge gaps between what people want and need, and what is provided by hospice. These gaps can create an enormous amount of struggle for uninformed or unprepared patients and loved ones.

Hospice agencies are highly regulated and the services are limited, too often failing to meet the needs and wishes of patients and families in the final stage of life. Optimal End-of-Life Care only happens when there are no artificially imposed limitations and restrictions.

Optimal End-of-Life Care is as unique as the individual for whom it is being provided. Schedule a no-obligation phone consultation to learn more. 

Integrated MD Care eliminates the gaps and provides just the right care, at just the right time, in just the right place, without the restrictions and limitations that hospices face. With IMDC, you and your loved ones get to co-create your Optimal End-of-Life Care program without having to compromise on what’s most important.

Who is Hospice for and When?

The discussion about Hospice Care often begins when it is acknowledged that it may not be possible to cure a patient’s serious illness, or a patient has decided not to undergo further curative treatments or hospitalizations.

San Diego hospice or palliative care patients need to know all their options.

The patient enrolling in hospice care understands that his or her situation is not going to improve with medical attempts to cure the disease or slow its progress.

Hospice care centers around the patient, but ideally will include thoughtful support for the entire family and loved ones. The care is provided by a team that typically consists of a nurses, social workers, spiritual counselors, and physicians. Hospice care may be provided in a private home or at a variety of facilities.

Related article: Medical Aid in Dying and California End of Life Option Act

There are many hospice care providers in the San Diego, and while there may be some differences in how they approach patient care, they all operate with the same restrictions and limitations.

We encourage people to learn all of the facts and understand all of their options before committing to a specific hospice provider, or committing to hospice care at all.

What About Palliative Care?

Palliative Care is a compassionate approach to reducing suffering, regardless of the prognosis or ongoing curative treatments. Accessing Palliative Care does not require that a person have a terminal condition- it is available for people at any stage of illness and can be most effective when provided at the point of diagnosis.

Palliative Care can be a helpful resource for anyone facing serious illnesses, such as cancer, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and many others.

While Palliative Care can be valuable for patients and families, it is not readily available in all communities, and where it is, there are significant limitations due to a shortage of providers, inadequate payments from Medicare and Insurance, and inadequate support from large hospital systems.

Over time, access to Palliative Care programs and what they can deliver should improve, but for now, there are still large gaps that cause people to continue struggling.

Questions? Send us an email.

Alternatives and Enhancements to Hospice Care

Consider alternative therapies to complement hospice care in San Diego County.

There are alternatives to the traditional hospice approach. In the Medicare model of hospice, it is usually considered all or nothing. Once on a hospice program you must follow the Medicare guidelines.

The general guidelines of Medicare hospice require no more curative treatments (or palliative treatments) and an expectation of living six months or less. At Integrated MD Care, we work with patients to make sure they understand all of their options before making any decisions, and we provide care that can enhance the experience of hospice or palliative care.

Questions to Ask

If you are you thinking about enrolling yourself or a loved one in hospice care, consider these questions:

Do you know the Hospice Gaps? Click on the image to see what’s True or False.

Do you know the Hospice Gaps? Click here to see what’s True or False. 

  • Do you have unanswered questions and concerns?
  • Is it the right time?
  • Which hospice should we consider?
  • What should we expect?
  • Do I have to stop curative treatment?
  • Can I stop hospice if things change?
  • What do I do next?

Before making a huge decision like this, don’t you want to know all of your options and learn the truth about what might be in store?

Integrated MD Care is here to eliminate your confusion and help you make decisions that best honor your values and your dignity.

Allow us to help transform your experience from one of fear and struggle to one of peace and empowerment. Let us help make it a beautiful last phase of life and a soft landing.


  • Provide an in-home expert assessment of the patient and the care currently being provided
  • Discuss the specific goals and wishes of the patient and family and ensure that the care is aligned with those goals and wishes
  • Identify current and potential gaps in care, and discuss ways of filling and/or preventing the gaps
  • Review traditional and alternative therapies to consider
  • Provide guidance, recommendations, and advocacy regarding what is needed to maintain the best possible care and quality of life
  • Review and assess current pain and symptom management strategies
  • Create a realistic care plan and strategy for communicating with family, loved ones and care providers
  • Provide critical, objective, and common-sense information so you and your loved ones are empowered to make the best decisions at the right time
  • Show you options and flexibility you may not have on Medicare and insurance-based hospice programs.

Questions about Optimal End-of-Life Care?

Call 858-925-7554

Click here to schedule a no obligation phone consultation to learn more. 

*Because we are not an insurance-based model there are no restrictions, limitations or qualifications to interfere with our commitment to you and your loved ones.

End-of-Life Care Program

Anywhere in San Diego County, our approach to end-of-life care empowers you to live life on your terms for the rest of your days – free of fear, pain, and anxiety. We are your partner and advocate in this journey. The physician-lead team at Integrated MD Care is your alternative to a healthcare system that just doesn’t work well enough.

Learn more about our End-of-Life Care program.

Related article: Medical Aid in Dying and California End of Life Option Act