MemorialCare Hospice & Palliative Services

Palliative Care - SMC

MemorialCare Hospice & Palliative Services provides services that improve quality of life for those facing death, loss and grief by promoting hope, compassion and comfort.

The Hospice Care Team

A department of Saddleback Medical Center, MemorialCare Hospice & Palliative Services includes an interdisciplinary team of physicians, registered nurses, social workers, spiritual care counselors, home health aides and trained volunteers. These professionals provide physical, emotional and spiritual support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Each team member plays a unique role in caring for our Hospice patients.

  • Our medical director collaborates with the patient’s personal physician to ensure pain and disease symptoms are managed effectively.
  • Registered nurses are educated to meet the needs of the terminally ill, including symptom control, through their honest and supportive approach.
  • Social workers provide emotional support, psychological counseling and assistance with financial and legal matters.
  • Spiritual counselors offer guidance and support throughout this challenging time.
  • Should the patient need assistance with grooming or household tasks, home health aides are available.
  • Volunteers provide companionship for the patient and respite for caregivers. They are local residents who are just a phone call away. 

Hospice Services

  • Medications that relate to the terminal illness.
  • Respite care.
  • Bereavement support for 13 months.
  • Nutritional consultation.
  • Other therapies as the patient’s condition warrants.

“Awaiting a spouse’s death is a time of enormous stress emotionally and physically.  Hospice held my hand every step of the way.  If there were early moments when I debated placing my husband with Hospice, in retrospect it was a very wise decision.”

“They were caring and kind people with Dad’s care being primary and us being primary also.  They have very difficult jobs; they all performed compassionately and professionally.  Your pastor, Frank is an asset to Hospice.  The social worker’s team was informative and willing to give time and answer questions-a definite asset! …The care was exemplary.  I want you all to take care of me when the time comes.”

“Thank you with all our hearts to each and every one of you who contributed so sincerely during my husband’s illness.  Your professionalism and expertise helped to ease our worries.  Your staff exhibited heartfelt caring and sincerity, which was truly recognized and appreciated both on a physical level and especially for our emotional support.  Thank you for taking the unlimited quality time to stay, care for, call, counsel and follow through on every aspect of his care.  We are so grateful.  You helped his passing and his family’s grief process tremendously.”

“I would like to thank everyone who helped care for my mother during the 5 months that she was on Hospice.  I could not have brought my mother home and cared for her those last 5 months without your help and care.  Those 5 months meant the world to me and to my mother…I will remember the time that my mother and I shared forever."

Gifts to Hospice

As a nonprofit, we never turn away a family in need of hospice services. Charitable gifts to hospice allow families in need to receive our services during a difficult time. Donations also provide continuous training and education to our staff.

In Lieu of Flowers – Wording for Funeral Announcements
Sometimes families ask guests to give to hospice in lieu of flowers. Below is an example of wording that can be used on a funeral announcement or program:

In lieu of flowers, the [NAME] family requests a gift to MemorialCare Hospice & Palliative Services, which can be made through Saddleback Medical Center Foundation:

  1. Online: - Visit and click GIVE NOW.
    - Select Hospice & Palliative Services in the Designation drop-down menu.
    - Complete the tribute information on the form.
  2. Mail: Make check payable to Saddleback Medical Center Foundation, 24451 Health Center Dr., Laguna Hills, CA 92653. Write “Hospice” and “In memory of [Name]” in the memo.
  3. Phone: Call the Foundation at (949) 452-3724 to provide credit card and tribute information.

If you can, please notify the Foundation that Hospice gifts in honor of your loved one may be arriving at (949) 452-3724 or

Give now

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is Hospice?
Hospice is a homecentered philosophy that affirms life by making a person's final days meaningful. It focuses on providing palliative care to the terminally ill instead of curative measures. Hospice neither hastens nor promotes death, but eases the transition, comforting both the individual and the family.

Who is Eligible?
Patients with a six-month life expectancy are admitted to the hospice program regardless of age, sex, religion or disease. Service is also available to individuals with limited resources. For a patient to receive Hospice care, the attending physician—who continues to supervise care—must order the service.

Can a Patient be Discharged From Hospice?
Hospice services may be discontinued if a patient’s condition improves so that their prognosis is extended beyond six months. Discontinuance of Hospice care would also be appropriate if a patient chooses to pursue curative therapy.

Payment Methods
We accept Medicare and Medi-Cal (as payment in full); private insurance (coverage varies)/ HMOs and PPOs; and private pay. The Saddleback Memorial Foundation also provides funds for qualifying patients who meet financial criteria.

Hospice Volunteer Opportunities

Our Hospice program has many volunteer opportunities in the Orange County area.  We are always looking for volunteers that can provide companion visits, provide hair cutting services, pet therapy services, play music and more! Our volunteers build close relationships with our Hospice patients and are an integral part of the care.  To be considered for a Hospice volunteer position you must meet the following criteria:

  • 18 years of age or above
  • Be ready and willing to commit to at least 12 months of volunteer service
  • Fill out a Hospice volunteer application
  • Pass background check
  • Attend Hospice volunteer orientation

For more information about Hospice volunteer opportunities, please contact us at (949) 452-3000.