620 South Dora Street, Suite 101 Ukiah, CA 95482 (707) 462-4038

Hospice of Ukiah Newsletter


Newsletter-Winter 2017

Hospice Care and Palliative Care

Dr. Cicely Saunders

Hospice actually was started a few years earlier in England by Dr. Cicely Saunders as a place and service for terminally ill patients.  St. Christopher’s Hospice in London was designed as a home-like, family friendly location for terminally ill patients.  A Hospice team was assembled to coordinate symptom and pain control, psycho-social, and spiritual support for the patient and their family.  When Hospice came to the United States it changed from a place to a team service primarily at the terminally ill patient’s home.  Respite volunteers were added to the Hospice team in order to give 24 hour family care-givers a much needed break.

The Birth of Hospice of Ukiah

In 1980 a community meeting was held chaired by Bob Alto from Mendocino County Community College to discuss Hospice care, a brand new concept. It was agreed that a Hospice team and service was needed in our community. Dr. William Lamers, Medical Director of the Hospice of Marin came to Ukiah and gave a slide presentation, encouragement, and advice. And so, our young community Home Health agency started the first Hospice in Mendocino and Lake Counties.  It became Hospice of Ukiah delivering coordinated team support to terminally ill patients and their families. This community resource has continued this mission uninterrupted right up to the present.  

Palliative Care

Three decades later Hospice of Ukiah is also providing “Palliative Care”.  This is coordinated team care and support for non-terminally ill patients who are suffering a chronic, disabling disorder.  Palliative Care has been taken up nation-wide in hospitals, hospices, and home health care. Hospice of Ukiah, Phoenix Hospice, Adventist Home Health Care, and Ukiah Valley Medical Center are struggling to meet this need, as great or greater than Hospice Care.

Service for All

Palliative Care is largely unfunded by the Government and Health Insurance.  However  Hospice of Ukiah, as a volunteer hospice, delivering all of its hospice services at no charge and without government or insurance payment, has successfully coped with this problem over the years.  We chose to refuse Medicare certification and funding 30 years ago because their program excluded terminally ill patients who chose to continue to fight their disease with chemotherapy, radiation, or dialysis treatments.  We couldn’t deny these patients and their families, who also needed hospice care.

Without government funding and without government restrictions, Hospice of Ukiah was free to care for those who were not terminally ill. They and their families needed support, sometimes for years.  These problems included old age debility, dementia, dialysis, emphysema, etc.  With the recent  recognition of palliative care, our census has grown dramatically for patients at home, in assisted living, and in nursing homes.  Hospice of Ukiah depends totally on donations, grants, bequests, and proceeds from our Thrift and Gift Store.

Annual Music Benefit

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