Local News in Brief : AIDS Care Program

The County Board of Supervisors, acting Tuesday on the first phase of the county's new $1.5-million AIDS hospice care program, awarded contracts worth $500,000 to nursing agencies in Los Angeles and Long Beach that will provide extended home care for patients throughout the county.

Within days, the two agencies will assign therapists, nurses and attendants up to 24 hours a day to AIDS patients, enabling them to remain at home instead of in hospitals as they near death. About 150 patients will have been helped by the time the contracts expire June 30, the county estimated.

By March 1, the county also expects to begin funding a 16-bed hospice for AIDS patients and to provide day-care facilities for 20 to 30 patients to take the burden off of patients' families, said Robert C. Gates, county Department of Health Services director.

Gates said his department is developing a five-year AIDS hospice plan and expects funding of at least $1.5 million for the next fiscal year.

Among government agencies in Los Angeles County, only West Hollywood has previously contributed significantly to hospice care for victims of acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

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