Palomar Health Partners with the Elizabeth Hospice and
Lightbridge to improve Palliative Care


San Diego, Calif. – Palomar Health, along with LightBridge Medical Associates and The Elizabeth Hospice, is forming a unique collaboration to improve the care of palliative patients in North San Diego County.


The organizations have combined their expertise and experience in this medical specialty to create an unprecedented inpatient Palliative Care program at Palomar Health. This partnership will produce exceptional quality of care to the communities served by Palomar Health.


For people with serious illness and their families, palliative care is specialized medical care that focuses on providing relief from pain and other symptoms and supporting the best possible quality of life for the longest possible time, no matter the diagnosis. Palomar Health’s Palliative Care Consultation services are offered to hospitalized and emergency department patients.


“We believe this new three-way collaboration will bring a comprehensive and robust palliative care program to Palomar Health, and we are all committed to the program’s success,” says Maria Sudak, Interim Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer at Palomar Medical Center.


Palliative care physicians from LightBridge and The Elizabeth Hospice are available 24/7 to consult with patients, being onsite Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on-call after hours and on weekends. This means a palliative care physician from either organization will be available to discuss treatment options at all times, in order to provide the best care plan for the patient, with comfort being the top priority. The consultation services will be offered at Palomar Medical Center first, expanding to Pomerado Hospital at a future date. 


The goal of palliative care is to improve the quality of life for both the patient and the family. It is appropriate at any stage in a serious illness and can be provided along with healing treatment.


“While medical advances have provided great benefit to some, many people with serious illness can still experience physical and emotional distress, as well as lack of alignment between their personal values and goals and the medical care they receive,” says Kate O’Malley, senior program officer with the California Healthcare Foundation.  “Multiple studies have shown that specialized palliative care services address these needs in a way that usual care does not. With a focus on defining and adhering to patients’ goals of care, managing pain and symptoms, addressing psychosocial and spiritual issues, and coordinating care among multiple providers and settings, palliative care improves the quality of life and experience of care for people with advanced illness.”


Hospice is for a patient who has a terminal prognosis and is no longer seeking curative treatment. It focuses on relieving symptoms and providing support during the last months of life. While all hospice services includes palliative care, palliative care is not always the same as hospice and can be provided for those living with complex diseases or illnesses who do not have a terminal prognosis.


“We are thrilled to have been chosen by Palomar Health and are very excited about this venture,” says Jill Mendlen, President and CEO of LightBridge Medical Associates and LightBridge Hospice. “We know our teams will do a wonderful job collaborating and working together to build an effective, high-quality palliative program.”


Research shows that people often live longer when they receive palliative care along with other treatments focused on treating their illness. 


"Our collective expertise in the field of palliative medicine means an exceptional care experience for the communities served by Palomar Health,” says Jan Jones, President and CEO of The Elizabeth Hospice. “We are honored to have been chosen by Palomar Health to participate in this important program.”



About Palomar Health
Palomar Health is the most comprehensive health care delivery system in northern San Diego County and the first California member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. It is the largest public healthcare district by area in the state, with more than 500,000 residents, and is governed by a publicly-elected board of directors. Palomar Health has several facilities serving North County, including hospitals in Escondido and Poway, expresscare health clinics in Escondido, San Elijo Hills and Temecula, and a skilled nursing facility in Poway. The health system provides medical services in virtually all fields of medicine, including primary care, cardiovascular care, emergency services, trauma, cancer, orthopedics, women’s health, rehabilitation, robotic surgery and bariatric surgery. For more information about Palomar Health, please visit


About The Elizabeth Hospice

The Elizabeth Hospice ( is the oldest and largest nonprofit hospice and palliative care provider of medical, emotional and spiritual support to the seriously ill and their families, serving San Diego and the Inland Empire. Since 1978, The Elizabeth Hospice has touched the lives of more than 90,000 individuals in the communities it serves. Specialty services include its nationally recognized Pediatric and Perinatal Hospice Program and Veterans Outreach Program. Through the Center for Compassionate Care of The Elizabeth Hospice, comprehensive counseling and grief support services are available for all ages to the community-at-large, regardless of the type of illness or death experienced. For more information about The Elizabeth Hospice, call (800) 797-2050 or visit our online communities via our Website, Facebook, and Twitter.


About LightBridge Medical Associates

LightBridge Hospice is Joint Commission accredited and has been providing hospice services throughout San Diego County for well over a decade. Their affiliated medical group, LightBridge Medical Associates (LBMA) has been providing palliative care to patients since 2009.  LBMA was the first palliative care specialty medical group in San Diego and one of the first in the nation.  They are currently participating in a two- year grant program, “Health Insurers and Palliative Care Providers: New Models of Care,” funded by the California HealthCare Foundation. For more information please call LightBridge Medical Associates at (858) 458-2993 or visit our website at