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Palliative Care

Saint Francis Memorial Hospital's Palliative Care Program addresses the needs of patients suffering from chronic or terminal illness to help ensure the best quality of life. The palliative care team strives to address symptom management problems including pain and other stressful physical symptoms, as well as any psychological, social, or spiritual needs.

Through advanced care planning, you and your family can determine which interventions and medical care you want, including completion of advance directives. In addition, we'll help educate you about the disease process and options for care after hospitalization.

We understand that you want to make informed, deliberate choices about your treatment. These choices can be expressed in advance, before you are unable to express them due to progression of an illness or other unanticipated problems. Here are the advance directives available to convey those choices:

  • Advance Health Care Directive: States your desires and appoints an individual to make decisions concerning health care when you are no longer able to make them for yourself. This document is legally binding, both on the person appointed as Attorney in Fact and upon your doctor. Visit to download the Advance Health Care Directive form in Chinese. Visit Institute for Healthcare Advancement to download the Advance Health Care Directive form in English and other languages.
  • Living Will: This document allows you to provide general guidelines regarding the extent of your health care; it will be used if you become incapable of making decisions. It is regarded as an expression of your choices; however, it is not a legally binding document in the state of California. Contact your chaplain, case manager, discharge planner or social worker to find out where you may acquire this form.
  • Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST): Gives seriously-ill patients more control over their end-of-life care, including medical treatment, extraordinary measures (such as a ventilator or feeding tube) and CPR. Printed on bright pink paper, and signed by the patient and physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant, POLST can prevent unwanted or ineffective treatments, reduce patient and family suffering, and ensure that a patient's wishes are honored. Visit to download the POLST form in a variety of languages.
  • Natural Death Act Declaration: Allows you to provide general guidelines regarding the extent of your health care. It can be used in the event you become incapable of making decisions. This document, part of the California Natural Death Act, directs doctors not to continue treatment. It is legally binding on your doctor.

Ethical Questions And Concerns

Conflicts that may arise regarding decision-making surrounding health care and treatment may be referred to the Bioethics or Ethics Committee. Please notify your doctor, nurse, case manager, or patient relations representative to initiate the process.

Learn More About The Palliative Care Program

For more information about Saint Francis Memorial Hospital's Palliative Care Program, please call 415.353.6856 or 415.353.6180