A nonprofit organization, Hospice of Santa Barbara provides compassionate care at no cost to members of the community facing terminal illness, as well as their loved ones. The program underwent a major restructuring and launched again last July. In less than a year, the hospice’s Patient Care Services has admitted more than 115 new patients. This number represents an 18 percent month-over-month growth for the past nine months.
The restructuring allows for a better continuum of care and permits patients to move seamlessly between programs as their needs change. From the moment they receive their diagnosis, patients can access a hospice program tailored to their needs. Importantly, access to complete care through the hospice has minimized hospitalizations and reduced the strain on medical resources in the Santa Barbara community. Over the course of nine months, only 16 patients in the hospice’s care were hospitalized, and all received treatments that could not be performed at home.
The hospice’s Patient Care Services now offers four levels of care. Care Management provides access to critical resources for newly diagnosed patients who may recover from their illness. Palliative Care Management focuses on patients who are receiving treatment for a terminal illness. Anticipatory Grief supports caregivers and loved ones of a patient with a terminal illness, and Bereavement Care Management offers survivors a variety of supportive services to assist them though the grieving process.
In the past nine months, Hospice of Santa Barbara has provided 1,868 face-to-face visits with new patients who require care management, patient care volunteers, spiritual companions, and spiritual care. These services represent nearly $274,000 in free care. Much of the increase in patient services is due to community outreach, as well as education initiatives aimed at professionals in the human services and medical fields. The increase is also due to new programs for people who may likely recover from their illness, as well as the organization’s new approach emphasizing comprehensive patient care.