Zen Hospice Project is reaching new levels of influence and our caregiving model is becoming a much needed agent of change. We see opportunities to set new standards for end-of-life care that meet the needs of more people. This is a testimony to the power of the Zen Hospice community—our volunteers, donors, care givers, staff, and families—and to what we’ve built and nurtured over almost three decades.
Direct Care for Residents and Families
Every year we provide direct care at our Guest House for residents and their family and community members—that impact alone is felt by more than 300 people each year.
An active corps of 125 volunteers, an essential part of our mission, collectively provide 32,000 hours of care at one of two service locations; Laguna Honda Hospital and our Guest House. An additional 25 volunteers provide special skills annually, including meal preparation, massage treatments, music recitals, and pet therapy.
In the past two decades, Zen Hospice Project has trained more than 1,500 volunteer caregivers to provide compassionate care with a contemplative approach. We continue to build upon that accomplishment by training and supporting more than 50 new volunteers each year.
The lessons and expertise that we've gained from 25 years of training and supporting our own volunteer corps has provided a solid foundation to educate other professional caregivers. This past year, we developed the curriculum for a new, collaboratively taught elective with the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, designed for an inter-disciplinary audience of medical students, critical care nurses, and residents. Based on this success, we're working on designing and piloting training programs for other caregiver communities, including direct care workers (home health aides and nursing assistants).
Creating New Models
Our Guest House has evolved as both an incubator of innovation and a collaborative learning environment. Our team has created a flexible service model that works in tandem with a range of community-based volunteers, allied healthcare professionals, and medical and social experts, in a way that is highly cost effective and compassionate.
Our work with UCSF Medical Center is an important link to influencing the healthcare system. We partner with UCSF so they can offer the Guest House to their patients with advanced illness. These patients are often those who would otherwise have no viable option but an extended stay in an acute care setting at great cost to both their spirit and the system. This partnership saves the individual, community, and hospital significant dollars, while providing a more compassionate model of care. Because of the outstanding benefits, UCSF now reserves 50% of our Guest House beds.
We are also working with insurance companies to provide coverage for our care in order to make our services more financially viable for families. Through a pilot with Health Net, we are working in partnership to create a new path for compassionate residential care. By offering their members our residential hospice services, we are demonstrating the benefits of compassionate and cost-effective care.