Programs - FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

How is hospice care paid for?
Hospice care is covered by Medicare, Medicaid, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Blue Cross, and most other private insurance companies. A sliding scale is available for people without insurance.
What is the next step (how to sign up)?
Requests for hospice care are made by calling the Hospice office at 617.969.6130. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and respond immediately.

What are the specific services available?
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.

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

Is there a waiting period?
One of the great things that our hospice is known for is how quickly we respond to referrals. We make sure that a social worker follows up on any referral within one half hour of the initial call. During non-business hours, our on-call nurse is able to respond to referrals. It is not uncommon for people to want to be admitted to hospice the same day that they call. We are able to admit clients to hospice within a few hours of their initial call, including on weekends. We are very proud to be able to provide this service to people during such a difficult time.

Who are the members of the team that I will be working with?
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.

Who determines the plan of care / is the physician still involved?
The client, 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 client’s physician works in collaboration with the Hospice team as needed, and as frequently as possible.

What if we change our mind and want to continue curative measures?
Clients have the right to discharge from hospice services at any time. If hospice services are no longer medically appropriate, the client chooses to pursue active treatment, or chooses to withdraw from services, he/she may revoke his/her insurance benefit at any time.

What services are available after my loved one dies?
During the year following the death, bereavement services are offered to people as they rebuild their lives after the loss of a loved one. The Hospice also hosts an annual Memorial Service for community members and offers a wide variety of support groups.

Must I be older than 65 to qualify for hospice?
No. No medically appropriate person is ever denied care because of race, age, religion, diagnosis, sexual orientation, or inability to pay.

Can I stay at home with hospice care?
Yes. Good Shepherd Community Hospice provides care to people living in private homes, nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Can I keep my doctor?
Yes. The Hospice works closely with the client’s physician to ensure that we are working as a team to provide the best possible care. The same Hospice Team members follow all clients for the duration of their care and Hospice Nurses attend all physician appointments.