California-based Hospice by the Bay has rebranded as By the Bay Health. The new brand is designed to reflect the organization’s full range of services, including palliative care, comfort care, grief counseling, pediatric care, and skilled home health care as well as hospice services.
The rebranding reflects a growing trend in hospice care that sees providers diversifying their services to better assist patients, as well as change the general perception of hospice care. As hospices nationwide develop new services to engage patients further upstream, some are changing their brands to reflect their expanded scope and to avoid the word “hospice” in their company names, hoping to ameliorate patients’ anxiety about end-of-life care.
“We see an opportunity to meet patients earlier in their health journey, through our skilled home health services, and palliative care programs — which many in our community were unaware that we provide,” By the Bay Health CEO Kitty Whitaker told Hospice News. “Our name change and rebrand speaks more to building stronger relationships with patients early on so they can take advantage of our continuum of care and understand the benefits of care at home, including hospice.”
Hospice and other post-acute providers nationwide are working to engage patients further upstream in the course of their illnesses. New avenues of reimbursement are driving service diversification throughout much of the industry, with hospices launching programs like palliative care, PACE, home health and others. This will continue to be a major trend during 2021.
Amid these changes, demand for a range of home-based health care services is rising, a trend that has been building for years but accelerated when the pandemic hit. Patients and families have been less likely to seek institutional care due to fears of contracting the virus. Demographic tailwinds from the aging population is also driving up demand.
The need to improve coordination across the care continuum is also motivating hospices to diversify.
“Allowing older patients to transition from service line to service line from the convenience of their own home leads to fewer hospitalizations and more personalized care,” Whitaker said. “Facilitating the transition between service lines allows us to build a level of trust with the patient which leads to a better patient experience.”
By the Bay Health was established 45 years ago, initially under the brand Hospice of Marin and is the oldest nonprofit hospice in the state of California. The organization serves eight counties in that state. In 2015, the hospice affiliated with the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) health system, which also spurred their growth, according to Whitaker.
By the Bay Health recently opened a general inpatient unit that enrolls UCSF patients in their hospice program as they near the end of life.
“Having the support of one of the world’s most renowned medical institutions allows us to take advantage of our shared resources and clinical expertise,” Whitaker said. “This is a great opportunity to improve end-of life-care for patients at UCSF facilities, while highlighting the many benefits of hospice medicine to clinicians throughout UCSF.”