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Hospice Care

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Hospice Care

Hospice care is part of the continuum of care for a patient. It addresses the physical, social and spiritual needs of patients during end-of-life care. The hospice care model utilizes a multidisciplinary team—including physicians, nurses, social workers, aides, hospice volunteers and chaplains—for providing care to patients and their families. Our hospice services are provided in collaboration with Hospice of the North Shore and Greater Boston. 

How does hospice care work?

Hospice combines medical, social, emotional, spiritual and support services to preserve dignity, integrity and comfort by:

  • Emphasizing management of physical and emotional pain so patients can be comfortable and alert
  • Easing anxiety, loneliness and fear of death through social, spiritual and psychological support
  • Allowing most patients to remain at home during their final illness with appropriate medication, nursing assistance, supplies and ancillary support
  • Providing 24x7x365 access to a nurse as needs arise
  • Supporting families throughout the patient’s illness and ensuing bereavement period
  • Providing a multi-disciplinary team of hospital-based professionals and trained volunteers who work closely with the patient’s physician to provide optimum care

Who is eligible?

Patients use hospice at a time in their illness when curative treatment is no longer being sought and when enhancing the quality of remaining life is a primary concern.

How do you become a part of a hospice program?

Many patients learn about hospice programs through their physician, nurses, social workers or other health care providers, friends or clergy, and others who have used hospice. During the decision-making process, the hospice team works closely with the physician, patient and family members to clearly define the options. The patient, or the patient’s designated representative, is responsible for making the final decision to use hospice.

Where is hospice care provided?

Hospice services can be provided in the patient’s home. The patient’s primary caregiver, with assistance from the hospice team, can provide most of the care in the familiar surroundings of the patient’s home. Hospice care can be provided in an inpatient hospice facility or at a skilled nursing facility.

Emerson has two inpatient hospital beds for hospice patients in collaboration with Hospice of the North Shore and Greater Boston. This allows inpatients to receive seamless hospice level care while remaining at Emerson. Patients continue to receive care from the trusted medical staff at Emerson Hospital in collaboration with Hospice of the North Shore and Greater Boston clinicians. The clinicians will work with you and your family to establish goals and design a plan of care.

Who pays for hospice care?

Most insurers, including Medicare, provide hospice benefits that cover part or all of the service of a hospice program at home. Coverage for inpatient hospice facilities need to be discussed with your insurance provider.

For more information on hospice at home, please call the Hospice & Palliative Care Federation of Massachusetts at 800-962-2973 or visit www.hospicefed.org.