St. Joseph Health physicians and staff know that this is an overwhelming
and difficult time for you and your family. You don’t have to do
this alone. We’re here to answer questions, provide support and
help you and your family. Providing compassionate hospice and palliative
care for people nearing the end of their lives is one of the hallmarks
of St. Joseph Health’s care.
The end-of-life process is unique to each person. We encourage you to read
the information on this page to understand this process and find out more
about how we can support you.
It’s important that family caregivers pay attention to their own
needs while being there for their loved ones. Get plenty of rest, eat
nutritious food and exercise. Headaches, nausea, heartburn or shortness
of breath can be symptoms of stress and fatigue.
Find out more in these FAQs.
The end-of-life care St. Joseph Health provides is grounded in the values
of respecting the sacredness of life, providing care to dying and vulnerable
persons and respecting the integrity of health care providers. St. Joseph
Health provides end-of-life care that takes care of the physical, emotional,
social and spiritual needs of our patients and their family members. The
goal is to improve the quality of life for the patient and his or her family.
Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious or
chronic illness. Regardless of diagnosis, palliative care focuses on providing
patients with relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of their illness
and helps with clarification of goals. Palliative care is provided by
a team of doctors, nurses and other specialists who work together with
a patient’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support.
It is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a chronic or serious
illness and can be provided along with curative treatment.
End-of-Life Option Act
The new legislation allows for organizations and physicians to ‘opt-out’
of dispensing end-of-life drugs.
St. Joseph Health has “opted-out” of the provisions of California’s
new end-of-life law and will not participate in the aid in dying practice
on our premises, as allowed by the legislation. This means dispensing
end-of-life medications will not take place at St. Joseph Health. We believe
physicians have an obligation to openly discuss patient’s concerns,
unmet needs, feelings and desires about the dying process. It’s
important to learn the meaning behind the patient’s question and
attempting to respond to a patient’s concern can be a potent, therapeutic
In most cases, people wishing to use this option would do so in a home
or other setting, and many hospitals in states where physician-assisted
suicide is legal have also decided not to participate on their premises.
Most patients who initially consider obtaining a lethal dose of medication
do not persist with their requests when they feel their concerns are effectively
Which end-of-life care services does St. Joseph Health provide?
Will patients’ advance directive or POLST documentation be respected?
Yes. St. Joseph Health has long believed that everyone deserves the best
possible care at every stage of life, particularly in the final years.
That’s why we want everyone to have the opportunity to plan in advance
- in consultation with their physicians - for the type of care they wish
to receive through the end of life. Advance directives and POLST documentation
for all patients are foundational to the patient’s care plan.