Decline in Local Hospice Homes
In doing my research for this week’s topic on care for those who are terminally ill, I found that resources for hospice care in my community to be surprisingly scarce. I assumed because there are many facilities specializing in geriatric care such as nursing homes, there would also be adequate access to hospice. The lack of hospice care is emphasized by the relatively recent termination of the hospice unit at a prominent senior living facility in my community called Linden Ponds. In 2015, when the program ended, there were only 7 hospice patients out of 2,324 residents in total (1). Furthermore, the company that owns the facility called Erickson Living provides hospice care at only 2 of their 17 facilities, including Linden Ponds, throughout the country (1). The spokesperson for Linden Ponds in Hingham said that the choice to close the hospice unit was strictly a “business decision”, implying the decreasing demand for the service catering specifically to the geriatric population (1). However, as those who are terminally-ill vary in age, there are two primary resources in my area that provide hospice care that aren’t age-specific.
Shore Shore Hospice
The first resource is called Hospice of South Shore, which is one of the services provided by South Shore Hospital in the town next to mine. The service is brought to the terminally-ill patient, whether they are situated at home or at an assisted-living facility (2). This hospice team is on call 24-7 for both non-urgent visits and emergencies (2). The service is Medicare-certified, and most of the care provided can be covered by either Medicare, Medicaid, or private health insurance companies (1). South Shore Hospice will also work with the patient’s insurance and offer financial assistance to ensure that all patients can afford optimal care (2). South Shore Hospital addressed the changes that have occurred with home care during the pandemic on their blog (3). The staff of Hospice of South Shore are considered front line workers during this public health crisis, so the hospital shared some suggestions to keep both workers and patients healthy. Suggestions include maintaining proper hygiene and relying more on technology to communicate with caregivers if possible (3).
The Pat Roche Home
Another resource for hospice care in my community is the Pat Roche Hospice home. The Pat Roche home is a non-profit organization that offers residential hospice care and has 12 beds for patients (4). The home provides a wide array of services including round the clock care for residents, home health aides, 3 meals per day, and housekeeping (4). The home also provides visits from physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, bereavement counselors, and volunteers (4). Room and board at the Pat Roche home is not covered by Medicare or Medicaid (4). However, there is a possibility that it may be covered by private insurers. As for the rest of the healthcare services provided in the home, they are all covered (4). Between the small number of beds in the home and the increased cost of care that is due to room and board, the Pat Roche home is definitely a less accessible option for hospice. However, the home is extremely comfortable and provides a quality experience for all residents. Included below is a video promoting the home .
- Lambert, Lane. “Linden Ponds Closes Hospice Unit.” The Hingham Journal, The Hingham Journal, 21 May 2015, hingham.wickedlocal.com/article/20150521/news/150528568.
- “Hospice.” South Shore Health, South Shore Hospital, www.southshorehealth.org/services-care/home-care/hospice.
- “Home Care during the COVID-19 Pandemic.” South Shore Health, South Shore Hospital, 19 Mar. 2020, www.southshorehealth.org/wellness/blog/home-care-during-covid-19-pandemic.
- “Pat Roche Hospice Home in Hingham, MA.” NVNA and Hospice, www.nvna.org/hospice-residence/.
- NVTA and Hospice. The Pat Roche Hospice Home in Hingham, MA – History and Mission. Youtube, 21 June 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Nskp-7C8XI#action=share.