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End of Life: Home

Talking about end of life can be hard for patients and their loved ones. This guide provides information for both patients and caregivers about advance care planning, palliative care, what to expect when someone is nearing the end of life, and hospice care. Making health care decisions in advance and sharing them with family, caregivers, and healthcare providers helps ensure that the patient's wishes are understood. We hope that this information will help prepare you for the future and guide you to the support and care you may need.

Helpful Websites

What is hospice, and how is it used in cancer care?

Hospice is a special type of care in which medical, psychological, and spiritual support are provided to patients and their loved ones when cancer therapies are no longer controlling the disease. Hospice care focuses on controlling pain and other symptoms of illness so patients can remain as comfortable as possible near the end of life. Hospice focuses on caring, not curing. If the patient’s condition improves or the cancer goes into remission, hospice care can be discontinued and active treatment may resume. Choosing hospice care doesn’t mean giving up. It just means that the goal of treatment has changed.

Hospice services may include doctor or nursing care, medical supplies and equipment, home health aide services, short-term respite (relief) services for caregivers, drugs to help manage cancer-related symptoms, spiritual support and counseling, and social work services. Patients’ families are also an important focus of hospice care, and services are designed to give them assistance and support. Hospice care most often takes place at home. However, hospice care can also be delivered in special in-patient facilities, hospitals, and nursing homes.

Source: National Cancer Institute - Choices for Care When Treatment May Not Be an Option

Oncology Social Work Services and Counseling

Cancer can involve significant psychological, social, and economic challenges for patients and their families. How and if these challenges are addressed is an important aspect of a patient’s care plan. The Ridley-Tree Cancer Center employs clinical social workers who provide emotional and practical support for patients, their families, and their friends. Oncology Social Workers can provide advocacy and referrals as well as individual and family counseling services.

Services are available at no cost and are available to anyone in our community, regardless of where they are receiving medical care. 

For more information, call (805) 879-5690.  

California End of Life Option Act

The End of Life Option Act is a California law that permits terminally ill adult patients with the capacity to make medical decisions to be prescribed an aid-in-dying medication if certain conditions are met. Signed into law by Governor Brown in October 2015, the law went into effect on June 9, 2016. The resource provided here is for informational purposes only. We strongly encourage you to talk with your healthcare team if you have any questions or would like more information.


Cancer.Net - Advanced Cancer and End of Life Care - 3:55 minutes

When a person with cancer is nearing the end of life, it can be hard to know what to expect. Dr. Timothy Moynihan and patient advocate Andrea Wilson guide viewers through the main focuses of end of life care, communicating about the patient’s final wishes, and coping with difficult emotions.

Books at the Resource Library

These are just a few highlights from the Resource Library collection. Please click here to search our online catalog. For more information about the Resource Library and how to borrow materials, visit our website

Resources provided by the Cancer Resource Library are for informational purposes only. The information in these materials may or may not apply to your specific condition, and should not be construed as medical advice. We strongly encourage you to consult your healthcare provider to review anything you learn through these resources.

Ridley-Tree Cancer Center provides comprehensive cancer treatment and support programs for patients and families. We are recognized for medical excellence, a strong clinical research program, and a multidisciplinary approach to cancer prevention.

Cancer Resource Library | 540 West Pueblo Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93105 | (805) 563-5807 | |