In November of 1979, over 60 committed volunteers, largely from the health care community, joined together to establish a hospice in Lake County, California. A Board of Directors was selected and a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation was established in the State of California in 1980. Training programs were developed and implemented to prepare the new staff to offer hospice services to patients and their families.
In 1981 Hospice Services of Lake County hired a Patient Care Coordinator/Executive Director, developed the bereavement program and began serving its first patients and families. To help the fledgling organization, a thrift store was established in Clearlake followed a few years later by the opening of a second store in Lakeport. By 1989 Hospice Services of Lake County earned its Medicare and Medi-Cal Hospice Certification. This certification allows Hospice to receive reimbursement from Medicare, Medi-Cal and most major insurance plans for hospice services to covered individuals.
Hospice has grown from serving a handful of patients to serving over 300 patients and families per year; providing care for as many as 50 patients on any given day. In support of its compassionate mission the Board of Directors governs a staff of over 50 professionals and a volunteer force of more than 100. Today, the revenues from four Thrift Stores strategically located in communities around the county, fund the patient special needs fund, and the community bereavement programs which include, individual bereavement support and bereavement groups open to community members, the Wings of Hope Family Bereavement Camps and the school bereavement program.