The Art of Strengths Coaching

Z is for The Zen Hospice Project For Helping People To Feel Human Until The End Of Life

The Zen Hospice in San Francisco helps people to feel human until the end of their lives. In the video above, BJ Miller describes the project’s approach to facilitating that process.

Below are some excerpts from the organisation’s website that provide an insight into its work. You can discover more via the following links.


So many of us think of life and death as two separate things. It doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, the two are connected.

What if the things we cherish most in life were the same things we carry with us towards death? Those moments that make us feel awake. Loved. Human. What if we could live our lives – fully – all the way to the end?

Zen Hospice Project, IDEO and many others are exploring how we might provide the best hospice care possible and design a better experience, for everyone. And we’d like you to join us.

We believe it starts with being open to the idea of discussing death. Daring to look at it, and bringing your own light to it.

Our History

We draw from our contemplative heritage and a history of successful collaboration with the hospice and palliative care community.

Our legacy of compassionate and pioneering service initially grew from the San Francisco Zen Center in 1987.

Since then, Zen Hospice has grown into an independent nonprofit organization (501c3) providing care at the bedside for those facing advanced illness and their loved ones, while also training and supporting a new wave of volunteer and professional care givers.

Zen Hospice opened its iconic Guest House in 1990, as a community-based model to attend to those dying and in most need of support.  

As an early responder to the AIDS crisis, we provided care when others would not during this era of fear.  

In 2010, Zen Hospice renovated and re-opened the Guest House as a licensed residential care facility for the chronically ill (RCFCI) with 24-hour nursing staff, all of whom are trained in our approach to mindful, compassionate, and skillful care.

Since 1988, we have provided the same quality of care at Laguna Honda Hospital, one of the largest public long-term care facilities in the United States. 

Our volunteers serve daily on the 60-bed hospice and palliative care floor supporting residents and their families, working in collaboration with professional care givers.

Today Zen Hospice Project is a thriving organization offering direct care, educational programs, and inspirational support. 

Serving more than 31,000 people to date, our primary geographic focus is the Bay Area, but our work has gained national and international influence.

We see caregiving as a significant
and deeply human service

Our work is grounded in practical expression of the universal spiritual values of compassion and service.  

The Zen Hospice approach reflects a decades-long association with contemplative traditions and practice. 

We value mindful and wholehearted engagement with the present moment and seek to bring this awareness to everything we do.

We value the lived experience that dying is both sacred and unknowable, which allows us to be fully present to whatever we meet without preconceptions.

We value our interdependence and shared impermanence through which we can most intimately serve and support each other in living and dying.

Here is another video that introduces the work done by staff and volunteers at the Zen Hospice. You can discover more via the project’s page on Facebook.

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