How can palliative care help?   |   Blue Shield's home-based palliative care program   |   Who is eligible for palliative care?

Three generation family

How can palliative care help?

Palliative care helps people with management of serious illnesses, which can help to reduce trips to the emergency room or hospital. Studies show palliative care can:

  • Reduce physical discomfort
  • Improve quality of life
  • Make living with a serious illness easier
  • Provide support for family and/or caregivers
  • Offer support for both persons with serious illnesses and those who help care for them

Blue Shield's home-based palliative care program

What services are covered?

  • Treatment decision and support
  • Care plan development and shared decision making
  • Home-based palliative care visits - in person and via video conferencing
  • Medication management and reconciliation
  • Psychosocial support for mental, emotional, social, and spiritual well-being
  • 24/7 access to patient help and support
  • Caregiver support

Where are these services delivered?

Throughout California wherever the person needs or wants them such as:
  • At home
  • Via phone or video

Who is on the palliative care team?

palliatve care team graphic

The team consists of specially trained:

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Social workers
  • Home health aides
  • Spiritual counselors

For more information see the palliative care infographic (PDF 472 KB) and fast facts sheet (PDF 126 KB).


Who is eligible for palliative care?

Palliative care is a standard service available to all members with Blue Shield of California primary coverage, with the exception of FEP PPO, Medicare Supplement, Shared Advantage, and Cal MediConnect. 

Palliative care services are in addition to a member's other medical care at no additional charge.

Palliative care is considered a primary Blue Shield of California service. Any member can self-refer, and no prior authorization is required.

Referrals can also come from:

  • Family members
  • Case management (Blue Shield, Optum, and others)
  • Providers (such as Primary Care Providers and specialists)
  • Hospital discharge planners


Advanced care planning conversations

Ariadne Labs developed the What Matters to Me Workbook (PDF, 264 KB) in collaboration with The Conversation Project. It is designed to help people with a serious illness get ready to talk to their health care team about what is most important to them.

Providers also have access to the Serious Illness Conversation Guide (PDF, 283 KB) to help them speak with patients about their goals and values.


Have a member you’d like to refer to the palliative care program? Download the Eligibility Screening Tool (PDF 449 KB), complete the form, and email it to the palliative care team at