Adventist Health has expanded its hospice services in Mendocino Country, California, both in terms of geography and its scope of services.
Adventist Health Hospice of Mendocino County (AHHMC) has been expanding its footprint in communities adjacent to its initial service region near the towns of Willits and Ukiah. The organization in the near future expects to move into the towns of Covelo and Anderson Valley.
In addition to this growth, the hospice provider now provides the full range of interdisciplinary care. For the past several years, hospice teams at Adventist’s Mendocino location were limited to one nurse and volunteers who provided emotional support, according to an announcement by Dr. William Miller, chief of staff at Adventist Health Mendocino Coast hospital in Ft. Bragg, California.
“We have worked so long and hard to get full hospice services back to the people on the Coast that I am relieved and encouraged that it is now happening,” Junice Wilson, hospice and home health administrator for AHHMC, said in the announcement. “We would like to be able to serve all of the people on the Coast who need and desire hospice services.”
The Mendocino location currently cares for eight hospice patients and has the capacity for 15, which the provider expects to increase to 20. AHHMC offers services exclusively in the home setting, but plans to provide care in local nursing facilities and among inpatients at Adventist Health Mendocino Coast Hospital, according to Miller.
The program now is staffed by one full-time and one part-time hospice nurse, as well as a chaplain, home health aides, and a medical social worker.
Hospice utilization reached 46.1% in California during 2018, according to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO). This trailed behind the national average of 50.3% that year reported by MEDPAC.
Seniors currently represent nearly 15% of California’s overall population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The number of adults 60 and older is expected to double by 2060, accounting for 30% of the population, according to a report from the California Department of Aging. The agency also indicated that a majority of the state’s counties would see increases of more than 100% in this age group.
“It is wonderful to expand this important service and to be able to help both patients and their families during this difficult and also sacred time of transition,” Dr. Claudia Petruncio, medical director of AHHMC, said in the announcement. “It is so important that someone going through this is not alone and that there is someone for them to call upon.”