San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine (SDHIPM) was the first non-profit hospice program in the County, since 1977, and was established by a group of caring individuals motivated by a common concern for terminally ill patients and their families. Their effort focused on helping these families deal with the emotional and spiritual issues raised by the patient's impending death.
SDHIPM was funded in 1977 when it received a Macomber Foundation start-up grant through the American Cancer Society and accepted its first 10 patients. It offered volunteer services only. Services included "friendly visits": help with housework, transportation and respite care, i.e., staying with patients and family members so loved ones might be able to get away for a few hours or take a break from their care giving duties.
The organization progressed rapidly. In 1978, SDHIPM hired a professional staff and cared for 71 patients. In 1979, SDHIPM became a licensed home health agency, providing specialized health care and support for the terminally ill. Services included nursing and home health services as well as continuing emotional and practical support provided by trained professionals in social work, counseling and bereavement.
On October 1, 1980, SDHIPM embarked on a new phase of growth: a Medicare Demonstration project. SDHIPM was one of 24 hospices nationwide selected from more than 250 applicants to participate in this project, which was designed to demonstrate the cost effectiveness and humanitarian benefits of hospice care. The Medicare project provided for the expansion of SDHIPM services. Dramatic growth occurred. In the first four months of this project, SDHIPM doubled the number of patients it served.
In October 1984, SDHIPM received designation as a Medicare-certified hospice. SDHIPM patients who qualify under the Medicare hospice benefit are now entitled to hospice coverage, which pays for 100 percent of standard hospice services and durable medical equipment and 95 percent of disease-related pharmaceuticals.
In January 1989, special licensing passed in the state legislature allowing for the creation of the 24-bed SDHIPM Inpatient Care Center for terminally ill patients whose pain or symptoms can no longer be managed at home.
The SDHIPM Campus, completed in 1990-91, was made possible by a grant from the Joan B. Kroc Foundation. In addition to the Inpatient Care Center, the campus also houses the SDHIPM Home Care Program and a nationally recognized education and research center. Administrative and home care staff moved into the home care building in December 1990, and the grand opening for the entire center was July 13, 1991. Our first acute care patient was admitted into the SDHIPM Inpatient Care Center in August, 1991.
SDHIPM has carried the following designations: