Programs - Good Shepherd Community Hospice

Hospice Services

As the first hospice in the state of Massachusetts, Good Shepherd Community Hospice has provided thousands of terminally ill patients and their families with vital emotional and practical support, leading Good Shepherd to be one of the most trusted providers of compassionate hospice care in the Greater Boston area.

Massachusetts’ original not-for-profit hospice, Good Shepherd Community Hospice is dedicated to providing you and your loved ones with comfort, reassurance, and peace of mind and to helping you navigate a life-limiting illness. Good Shepherd will be there to care for you and your loved ones and will continue to offer support and deliver quality care as your needs change.

Good Shepherd is committed to providing access to skilled, comprehensive care to all people in our service area with life-limiting illnesses living in their homes, nursing homes, and in assisted living facilities, while also providing support to their families.

Our hospice team consists of caring professionals, including nurses, social workers, medical directors, spiritual care coordinators, a bereavement coordinator, a volunteer coordinator, home health aides, and dedicated community volunteers who provide medical, emotional, and spiritual support to those with a prognosis of six months or less. We are committed to each person’s right to live with dignity and die in peace.

While we are committed to ensuring no-one dies alone – or in pain, we are also committed to ensuring that no-one mourns uncomforted. Knowing that the grieving process can often be complicated and lonely, we remain connected with our clients’ families/caregivers for one year following the death of their loved ones. We also remain largely committed to providing bereavement support to all members of our community.


  • Hospice clients are people of any age who have life-limiting illnesses, such as cancer, heart, renal or Alzheimer’s disease, or AIDS.
  • With the focus of care on comfort measures such as controlling pain and alleviating distressing symptoms, hospice clients have made the decision not to be undergoing aggressive treatment for their disease.
  • According to clients’ physicians, their prognosis is approximately six months or less.
  • While most clients live with people who help with their care, other clients live alone.
  • Seeking to remain in the comfort of familiar surroundings, clients live either at home or in nursing homes in Newton or any surrounding community.

How To Arrange For Care

  • Complete the Request Services Form or email our Intake Department. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and respond immediately by phone at (617) 969-6130.
    At times, people may prefer to come to the office to discuss hospice services in person.
  • The person who is ill, a family member, a doctor or other health care professional, often initiates the first contact.
  • As soon as it is convenient for the person who is ill and caregiver(s), a Hospice nurse and social worker arrange a visit to further explain the program, answer questions, and help sort out the confusion that may accompany the decision.
  • The person’s physician must approve hospice care. When everyone agrees that hospice will be helpful, services begin.
  • The sooner the Hospice Team can begin, the more support there can be, and the more effective the services.

How Hospice Care Is Paid For

  • Our care is fully covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance plans.
  • Equipment, supplies, medications, and clinical visits are, most always, covered by insurance.
  • The Hospice bills insurance carriers directly.
  • A sliding fee scale is available for people without insurance.
  • Care is provided to those without insurance and who cannot afford to pay.

For More Information

Hospice and Palliative Care Federation of Massachusetts (HFM) 

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) 

National Partnership for Hospice Innovation (NPHI) 

Frequently Asked Questions

Hospice care is covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance plans. A sliding scale is available for people without insurance. 

Core services include but are not limited to nursing, social work, medical consultation, home health aide, bereavement, spiritual care coordination, assessments, volunteer, community education (including CEU workshops) and training, support groups and speaker's bureau.

A nurse is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – to answer questions, and respond immediately to changing situations.

One of the great things that our hospice is known for is how quickly we respond to referrals. During non-business hours, our On-Call team is able to respond to referrals. 

The core team includes the Hospice Medical Director, each client’s primary physician, the Hospice Nurse and Social Worker. Additional team members are available upon request including clergy persons and/or spiritual coordinators, volunteers, home health aids and other therapists as needed.

The patient, family, and caregiver(s) participate in all aspects of decision making regarding hospice care and are involved in developing the plan of care to the extent of their ability and desire to do so. Each patient's physician works in collaboration with the hospice team as needed, and as frequently as possible.

Patients have the right to discharge from hospice services at any time. If hospice services are no longer medically appropriate, the patient chooses to pursue curative treatment, or chooses to withdraw from services, he/she may revoke his/her insurance benefit at any time.

During the year following a death, bereavement services are offered to family members and loved ones. Good Shepherd also hosts an Evening of Remembrance twice a year for family members and community members and offers a wide variety of support groups.

Yes. Good Shepherd Community Hospice provides care to people living in private homes, nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Yes. Good Shepherd works closely with the patients' physicians to ensure that we are working as a team to provide the best possible care.