What Sets Us Apart

  • At Hospice Services of Massachusetts and Hospice of Western & Central Massachusetts we are committed to making a lasting difference in the lives of patients diagnosed with a life-limiting illness by enabling them and their loved ones to live each day as fully and comfortably as possible. Our team of caring, professional staff and volunteers will pay careful attention to the medical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs of patients, their families and friends.
  • Our staff is committed to working closely with the patient, family and caregiver to assist them in understanding the end of life process, identifying what they can expect at the end of life, and empowering them to provide care when our team is not present. We are a community-based hospice, providing end-of-life comfort care to patients in any setting that is considered home as well as acute care hospital settings.
  • Hospice Services of Massachusetts and Hospice of Western & Central Massachusetts accepts referrals 24 hours per day / 7 days per week and will respond to any referral within 2 hours. We provide informational meetings to prospective patients, families, and health care providers on hospice care and eligibility requirements and perform same-day admissions when appropriate.

    The Hospice Team

  • The following are the services offered by each of the team members:
  • Hospice Medical Director

  • The Hospice Medical Director attends hospice team meetings and provides advice and direction for the hospice team. The Medical Director works with your attending physician and RN Case Manager to ensure that the medical care you receive is closely monitored and meets your on-going needs.
  • Attending Physician

  • Your doctor continues to play an important role in your care while you are a patient at hospice services. Your RN case Manager will be in regular communication with your physician and will make sure that he/she is aware of any changes in your condition or needs. Your physician will continue to prescribe medications for you and will be responsible for approving any changes in your plan of care.
  • Staff Registered Nurses

  • When you are admitted to Hospice Services of Massachusetts and Hospice of Western & Central Massachusetts, you are assigned an RN Case Manager. This nurse will provide skilled nursing visits, support and teaching to your caregiver, and also act as coordinator of your care. Nursing visits are made as necessary to monitor and control your symptoms. The frequency of visits may change throughout the course of your illness. In addition to your RN Case Manager, an on-call nurse is available by phone outside of normal business hours, to answer questions and to respond to problems. If necessary, an on-call nurse will visit you to resolve any problems that may arise outside of normal business hours.
  • Medical Social Workers

  • The Social Worker at Hospice Services of Massachusetts and Hospice of Western & Central Massachusetts are available to you and your caregivers to discuss the emotional challenges of serious illness. The Social Worker can also assist you with healthcare decisions, advance directives, legal matters, or access to other community resources. Soon after your admission, the Social Worker will visit you and your family to determine how to be most helpful to you during this time.
  • Spiritual Care

  • Spiritual care is provided by a chaplain who is available to visit people of all faiths or of no faith. The chaplain helps discuss spiritual issues such as fear, loss, forgiveness, anger, or spiritual questioning. The chaplain can also help with religious questions or arrange a visit by a local rabbi, priest or minister.
  • Volunteers

  • Volunteers provide a variety of services to support our patients and families. The volunteers are caring and compassionate men and women who live in the communities we serve and want to contribute to others in a meaningful way. Hospice Services of Massachusetts and Hospice of Western & Central Massachusetts provides and requires a comprehensive orientation and training for all volunteers as well as continuing education, ongoing support and supervision.
  • Bereavement Counselor

  • Hospice Services of Massachusetts and Hospice of Western & Central Massachusetts provide bereavement services including support groups, letters, and calls or visits to support families and caregivers experiencing a loss. We continue to provide support for at least a year, or longer if needed and requested, after the loss of a loved one.
  • Home Health Aides

  • Home health aides are provided to give personal care under the supervision of your RN Case Manager. Home health aides are assigned based on the personal care needs identified in your plan of care.

    Honoring Our Veterans

  • America's Veterans have done everything asked of them in their mission to serve our country and we believe it is never too late to give them a hero's welcome home. Now it is time that we step up, acquire the necessary skills and fulfill our mission to serve these men and women with the dignity they deserve.
  • We understand that some combat veterans who have coped well throughout their lives may experience increased combat-related memories and distressing emotions during their end-of-life journey. Exposure to traumatic events may also impact physical health later in life. We recognize that the effects of military service, good and bad, can continue to resonate throughout a lifetime.
  • Hospice understand about:
    • The challenges faced by Veterans. You are not alone
    • Connecting you with local VA staff to provide resources
    • Accessing VA benefits
    • Emotional counseling support for you and your family
    • Veteran to Veteran volunteer program
    • Assistance with military funeral and memorial planning
    • Bereavement counseling
  • Hospice Services of Massachusetts and Hospice of Western & Central Massachusetts offer a special program which recognizes and honors the contributions made by veterans. We offer to facilitate an appreciation ceremony, wherever our patients may reside, and present each of our veterans with a personalized recognition to express our gratitude and thanks for all they have done for our country.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is hospice?

  • Hospice is a philosophy of care, not a specific place. Hospice Services of Massachusetts and Hospice of Western & Central Massachusetts are provided to patients wherever they call "home," whether it's in a residence, skilled nursing facility or residential care facility. Hospice is a special concept of care designed to provide medical, emotional, and spiritual comfort and support to patients and their families when a life-limiting illness no longer responds to cure-oriented treatments. It neither prolongs life nor hastens death. Instead, it strives to control the symptoms that can cause pain and discomfort.
  • Who qualifies for hospice care?

  • Hospice is for anyone facing a life-threatening or terminal illness with a prognosis of 6 months or less. Patients with cancer and non-cancer illnesses are eligible.
  • Does hospice make death come sooner?

  • Hospice care does nothing to speed up or slow down the dying process. It manages pain and discomfort. Hospice care is not about giving up. It's built on the belief that every day of every life matters.
  • How does hospice manage pain?

  • Hospice's success rate in battling pain is very high. Hospice nurses and doctors are up-to-date on the latest medications and devices for pain and symptom relief. Hospice Services of Massachusetts and Hospice of Western & Central Massachusetts believes that emotional and spiritual pain are just as real and in need of attention as physical pain. Counselors and chaplains are available to assist patients and family.
  • Is the decision to seek hospice care permanent?

  • No. If a patient's condition improves or if the patient and family so choose, they can be discharged from hospice care. If the discharged patient should later need to return to hospice care, they can resume services.
  • When should a decision about entering a hospice program be made?

  • At any time during a life-limiting illness, it's appropriate to discuss a patient's care options. Hospice Services of Massachusetts and Hospice of Western & Central Massachusetts is an option, and by law the decision belongs to the patient. Contact us to discuss your needs.
  • Who makes the decision about entering hospice?

  • Ultimately the decision is made by the patient, with consultation with his or her physician and the family, during a life-limiting illness. Hospice Services of Massachusetts and Hospice of Western & Central Massachusetts is available during the decision-making process to discuss all care options.
  • How is hospice care different?

  • Hospice Services of Massachusetts and Hospice of Western & Central Massachusetts treats the person not the disease. The emphasis is on palliative care, which means the hospice team members, under the direction of a physician, work to help the patient feel more comfortable. The goal is to enable the patient to live as fully and comfortably as possible.
  • What kind of support is provided the family?

  • Support of the whole family is an important part of the hospice care plan. Hospice Services of Massachusetts and Hospice of Western & Central Massachusetts considers the whole family in decision-making, with the patient's choice as the primary concern for determining care.
  • What is the hospice interdisciplinary team?

  • Hospice care is provided by a team of hospice staff members who coordinate efforts on behalf of the patient and family. The team of professionals includes doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, home health aides, social workers, spiritual counselors, therapists and trained volunteers.
  • Who pays for hospice care?

  • Hospice care is fully reimbursed by Medicare and by Medicaid. Most other health plans and private insurances cover hospice services fully, but some may require that the deductible be met and/or may have a co-payment.
  • When is the hospice team available?

  • Some of the hospice team members are available to offer support and makes visits to the patient and family in their home environment. All hospice programs have a 24-hour telephone call service available seven days a week.

    Grief & Loss Program

  • Grief services are a vital element of Hospice Services of Massachusetts and Hospice of Western & Central Massachusetts for families. Before, during, and after the loved one’s death, hospice grief services can be an important support to assist patients, families, and all the survivors of an patient patient.
  • Hospice Services of Massachusetts and Hospice of Western & Central Massachusetts provides the psychological, emotional, and spiritual grief support needed during the difficult transition after the death of a loved one.
  • We offer counseling for those anticipating the death of someone close to them as well as patient and group counseling after death occurs. Other features of our comprehensive grief program are support groups designed for particular people who have experienced death, such as loss of spouse, loss of a child, adult loss of a parent.
  • At least once yearly, Hospice staff and volunteers offer an Interfaith Service of Remembrance, which celebrates the lives of those who died in care over the previous year.
  • Not only are we available for Hospice Services of Massachusetts and Hospice of Western & Central Massachusetts’ families and friends - but also we can offer support to grieving members of the community.
  • With hospice intervention in the mourning period, the pain of grief can be eased. Survivors can move through the experience of grief, complete the normal tasks of grief, and grow spiritually as they progress in their lives.
  • If you have lost a loved one to death - spouse, friend, partner, or family member – and are interested in counseling or participating in a support group, please call our coordinator of grief services at the Wareham office.

    Complementary Therapies

  • Hospice Services of Massachusetts and Hospice of Western & Central Massachusetts offer a full aray of special programs that bring enhanced quality of life to thos with advanced illness. The categories of complementary therapies we offer are:
  • Pet Therapy

  • Through the PAWS (Pets Are Wonderful Support) program, we have seen how being able to touch an animal can bring back memories and trigger conversation.
  • Caring Touch

  • Reiki is a Japanese technique for stess reduction and relaxation. It is a holistic method of healing, which focuses on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels to promote a sense of wholeness and well-being.
  • Music

  • Music has the ability to bring the body into harmony when it is stressed and has been able to serve as a "gatekeeper" in controlling pain. Our volounteers and staff are trained in the use of music for relaxation and reminiscence. They are provided with appropriate recordings and CD players.

    Helpful Links

    Hospice Association of America

  • 228 7th Street SE
    Washington D.C. 20003-5809
    Phone: 202-546-4759
  • http://www.nahc.org/
  • An affiliate of the National Association for Home Care with consumer information about how to select a hospice program.
  • National Hospice Organization

  • 1901 N. Moore Street #901
    Arlington, VA 22209
    Hospice Helpline: 1-800-658-8898
  • http://www.nho.org/
  • National non-profit organization devoted exclusively to hospice. For lists of hospices by county and general information about hospice.
  • Medicare and Medicaid Hospice Conditions of Participation, Final Rule, June 5, 2008

  • http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/pdf/08-1305.pdf
  • End of Life Palliative Educational Resource Center

  • http://www.eperc.mcw.edu
  • This site is intended to support patients involved in the design, implementation, and/or evaluation of End-of-Life/Palliative education for physicians, nurses and other health care professionals. More specifically, the site has been designed for use by medical school course/clerkship directors, residency and continuing education program directors, medical faculty, community preceptors, or other professionals who are (or will be) involved in providing EOL instruction to health care professionals in training.
  • Education on Palliative and End of Life Care

  • http://www.epec.net
  • "Our mission is to educate all healthcare professionals on the essential clinical competencies in palliative care."
  • Hospice and Palliative Care Federation of Massachusetts

  • http://www.hospicefed.org
  • The Center to Advance Palliative Care

  • http://www.capc.org
  • The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

  • http://www.nhpco.org/templates/1/homepage.cfm
  • Massachusetts Commission on End of Life Care

  • http://www.endoflifecommission.org
  • A comprehensive resource guide and directory of end-of-life care resources and services available throughout Massachusetts.

    Hospice Referrals

  • Anyone can refer a patient to hospice. And any patient diagnosed with a life limiting illness qualifies for Hospice Services of Massachusetts and Hospice of Western & Central Massachusetts.
  • Patients can self-refer, or elect to go through their doctors, family members, friends, counselors, nursing home administrators, or hospital discharge planners.
  • After making contact with hospice services, one of our highly trained hospice nurses, social workers, or an admitting team member will call within 2 hours to schedule a meeting with the patient and family. Should anyone other than the patient's doctor first contact us, a courtesy call to the patient's doctor is made to gather information about the diagnosis, confirm a terminal diagnosis, and determine whether the patient is appropriate for hospice care.
  • A nurse or social worker then meets to introduce Hospice Services of Massachusetts and Hospice of Western & Central Massachusetts, make an assessment of needs, and sign consent forms after all questions are answered.
  • Once the nurse has evaluated the patient's medical records and finalized a personal care plan, a second meeting is held to review and sign admitting documents. Care begins.