What will Hospice provide?

Family, friends or hired caregivers take care of you during your final months, weeks and days of life. Kaiser Permanente’s Hospice care team will support your medical, social, emotional and spiritual needs.

Care Team

Care team members regularly meet to review, evaluate and direct your individual care plans. The core team may include a physician, nurse, medical social worker and chaplain, each with a specific role. Together, members of the Kaiser Permanente Hospice care team will work with you and your hands-on caregivers to help meet your health care needs and keep you comfortable.


Often, a person’s family members or friends provide the daily care of the patient. One person, sometimes a spouse, adult child or hired caregiver is the primary caregiver. The primary caregiver takes care of the daily needs of their loved one, communicates with members of the Hospice care team and keeps their loved one company.

Your Hospice doctor is responsible for your medical care and is in charge of care such as:

  • Ordering medications and medical equipment
  • Arranging hospitalization if necessary to maintain comfort
  • Working with other physicians, like your oncologist, neurologist, or primary care physician

The Hospice nurse will coordinate your care and is your main point of contact with the Hospice care team.

IMPORTANT: Your nurse is not there to provide hands-on, day-to-day care-giving – this is performed by family, friends or hired caregivers.

Your nurse will:

  • Come to your home for a short visit about once a week or as needed for your particular medical situation
  • May visit more often if your medical situation changes (for example, to teach your caregiver how to care for new symptoms)
  • Answer your questions about medical care
  • Advocate for your needs, including for change to level of care/service, equipment or medications
  • Teach your caregivers how to best take care of you

As a trained counselor, your medical social worker may:

  • Visit your home
  • Offer emotional and social support to you and your family
  • Help direct you and your caregiver toward resources, like finding additional caregivers, completing paperwork, memorial or funeral service planning or referrals to bereavement support

Hospice Aides and Homemaker services can help with personal care, hygiene and some household tasks to maintain a safe and sanitary home environment. For a few hours a week, they can help with bathing, moving in and out of bed, getting dressed or light housework. They can also help support family members and friends in their care giving duties.

A spiritual counselor provides cross-denominational spiritual guidance and emotional support for people of all faiths and backgrounds.

You do not need to be religious to benefit from talking with a spiritual counselor. You can decide at any time, if you would like to have a visit.

A bereavement counselor could be a social worker, bereavement coordinator and/or chaplain who provides Bereavement Support Services to the Hospice families for a full year following the death of a loved one. The services offered may include: individual support, telephone follow-up, grief newsletters, age appropriate bereavement support groups and community memorial services.

Grief counseling typically has four components:

  • Learning about grief and what to expect when grieving
  • Expressing feelings
  • Building new relationships
  • Developing a new identity

Other team members may include:

  • Physical Therapist to assess and teach safety techniques or provide exercises and therapy for symptom management
  • Occupational Therapist to help with fine motor movement
  • Speech Therapist to help with speech and swallowing issues
  • Nutritionist to help with dietary needs
  • Clerical support staff to help with paperwork and any Hospice administrative needs
  • Pharmacists to help provide clinical expertise for all medication related needs

Specially trained Hospice volunteers can:

  • Visit to talk or read to you
  • Provide company
  • Run short errands or provide a short break for your caregiver

You can decide whether you’d like to have a Hospice volunteer visit. Tell your nurse or social worker.