A Quarter Century of Hospice Care: The Southern California Kaiser Permanente Experience


Mario Milch, MD; Richard D Brumley, MD

Summer 2005 - Volume 9 Number 3



Kaiser Permanente (KP) has been a pioneer in the development of hospice services in the United States. Since 1978, when hospice services were introduced in the KP Southern California Region, they have been gradually expanded to benefit thousands of patients and their families. However, important barriers to timely, appropriate utilization of hospice care remain. A pilot project conducted in our TriCentral Service Area has shown that palliative care--a newer development in end-of-life care--can be cost-effective in addition to being beneficial for patients and their families. Efforts are underway to emulate this model of care at other KP facilities. Availability of both home-based and inpatient palliative care services can expand the number and type of patients who, as they near the end of life, can benefit from effective symptom control and other support.


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