Getting Started

HopeHealth Hospice & Palliative Care  is a non-profit organization providing compassionate, high-quality hospice care in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. We are part of the HopeHealth family of services.

Here are important things to know about hospice care:

Elderly woman receiving assistance from a friendly young doctor with a stethoscope

What is hospice care?

Hospice is a philosophy of care that assists adults and children, regardless of age, facing the advanced stages of a serious illness. The focus is on care and comfort, not a cure, when time matters most. Another important part of hospice is support to caregivers and families during the illness, along with grief support after the loved one has died.

We personalize care to meet each patient’s physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs.

Our support includes:

  • Specially trained physicians overseeing the care
  • Regular visits by nurses who focus on caring for people where they live
  • Medications for pain relief and symptom management
  • Short-term inpatient and respite care, available as needed
  • Hospice aide services for personal care, such as dressing and bathing
  • Social work services to help navigate this journey
  • Spiritual care for support and guidance
  • Volunteers to provide companionship to the patient and assist family members
  • Medical supplies and equipment that will be needed during care (such hospital beds, walkers and wheelchairs)
  • Grief support, such as individual counseling, family counseling and support groups

What is the difference between hospice and palliative care?

It’s helpful to think of hospice and palliative care services as parts of a continuum of care for the various stages of serious illness:

Curative Care

addresses the underlying cause of serious illness, and the objective is to cure. Examples are chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.

Palliative Care

is provided to lessen the pain and stress of illness. It can be given at any time after diagnosis and alongside curative care. As the illness progresses, it may be appropriate for a patient to receive more palliative care and less curative care.

Hospice Care

is appropriate when life expectancy is six months or less if the disease follows its normal progression. At this point, palliative care transitions to hospice care.

Grief Support

is available to family and loved ones after death.

Who can receive hospice care?

Hospice is available when you have a progressive, serious illness or a combination of illnesses, such as:

  • cancer
  • heart, lung or liver disease
  • diabetes
  • ALS
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • stroke
  • multiple sclerosis
  • cystic fibrosis
  • blood disorders
  • Alzheimer’s disease or dementia
  • and others

Most insurance providers require a life expectancy of six months or less, although individual circumstances can extend this time frame. 

If you have questions about your qualification for hospice, please call us at (844) 671-HOPE. You can also learn more about what qualifies for hospice coverage on Medicare's site.

“The comfort, support and thoughtfulness of absolutely everyone who came to care for my husband Don is beyond description.”

— Patricia T. Rumford, a family caregiver

Are all hospice care providers the same?

No, hospices vary in the depth and breadth of services they provide.

At HopeHealth, we believe in individualizing care to meet the needs of our patients. We also serve as an essential community resource for care and compassion around serious illness and loss.

Our hospice program was established more than 40 years ago by a group of caring volunteers and community residents in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, making our programs some of the longest-serving in the nation.

Our clinicians and social services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and our physicians are nationally recognized for their academic research and expertise in hospice and palliative care.

We provide services to patients and families in their own homes, nursing homes, hospitals, assisted living communities and our two hospice inpatient centers, the HopeHealth Hulitar Hospice Center in Providence, RI, and the McCarthy Care Center in Sandwich, MA.

Who pays for hospice care?

Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance plans have a hospice benefit. As a non-profit organization, HopeHealth will provide care for anyone in the community we serve, regardless of one’s ability to pay.

What types of hospice are available?

Hospice care can look different depending upon an individual’s needs. We provide care in the setting most appropriate for your loved one’s current condition.

  • Routine care is provided “where you call home”—your private home, an assisted living community, a skilled nursing facility or other long-term care facility, or a residential setting.
  • General inpatient care (GIP) is for people who may need more intense care that cannot be provided safely at home. It is short-term and focused on acute symptom management. This care is given in a skilled nursing facility, a hospital or a hospice inpatient center, such as our inpatient centers, the HopeHealth Hulitar Hospice Center in Providence, RI, and McCarthy Care Center in Sandwich, MA.
  • Respite care. If care of your loved one becomes overwhelming, hospice may be provided in an inpatient center or nursing home for up to five days.
  • Continuous care is provided when symptoms do not follow the natural progression of the illness and intensive nursing services are needed in the place you call home. It is short-term and focused on acute symptom management.

Questions about hospice care?

Ask us at (844) 671-HOPE or

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