An Interdisciplinary Team Approach
About Hunterdon Hospice
Volunteering with Hunterdon Hospice
Resources for Coping with Loss
Frequently Asked Questions
Advance Directive (Living Will) & Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare (Medical Proxy)
When someone we love is seriously ill, we all want the best care possible. For most people that includes effective treatments to enable them to live longer, along with skillful attention to comfort, to enable them to live well. Most people prefer to spend their final days at home surrounded by their loved ones. When the time comes, most people want to die peacefully and with dignity.
For many reasons, patients with a serious or incurable illness eventually decide to stop treatment and testing in exchange for improved comfort and quality of life. Hunterdon Hospice provides a bundle of services to support a patient and their family during this transition.
The hospice philosophy centers on care for the patient in the context of his or her family and community. Hospice emphasizes comfort and quality of life — not the length of life, which sets it apart from many traditional health disciplines. Hospice is for people with a progressive, life-limiting disease and their families and caregivers. Care and supportive services are brought to the patient, whether they live in a personal residence, assisted living, or nursing home setting, to help make each day the best that it can be. By bringing the care to you, patients and families can focus on being together.
There are many myths and misconceptions about hospice care that prevent timely access to the services. Many people mistakenly think that turning to hospice means you are giving up and that death is imminent. In reality, many people benefit from hospice care for many months. In fact, the latest statistics show that people receiving hospice services live longer than those receiving just customary treatment.
Families coping with terminal illness need support to deal with the complex issues around end-of-life care and grief, which can begin well before someone is near death. Many cannot anticipate the needs they will have, which is where Hunterdon Hospice can be of service. We bring expertise in end-of-life care and can guide families through a maze of the complex issues that they will face as a family. As experts in symptom management, Hunterdon Hospice provides comfort not only from physical, but emotional and spiritual pain. We encourage patients and their families to be active participants in the decision-making process about the care that we deliver.
Hunterdon Hospice provides care by an interdisciplinary team of trained professionals, including:
- Social workers
- Certified Home Health Aides*
- Physical and Occupational Therapists
As soon as you and your loved ones decide to begin hospice care, Hunterdon Hospice will send a highly qualified hospice nurse and social worker to your home to assess your needs. They will arrange the services you require to ensure comfort and symptom management for the patient as well as support and resources for the family. Under the direction of a physician, hospice uses advanced methods of palliative care — pain and symptom management – which enable the patient to live as comfortably as possible.
Hunterdon Hospice provides certified home health aides to give a hand with personal care as well as the equipment you might need, like a wheelchair or hospital bed. If you would like our chaplain to visit, we can make arrangements. We also have volunteers who can provide companionship or relief for the caregivers so they can do what they need to do, even if it is only a peaceful quiet walk. We have a nurse available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer questions or visit if there is a need.
If inpatient care is required for symptom management, the hospice team can arrange for care to be provided at a contracted hospital or nursing home. And a hospice professional is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide assistance, advice, and support to patients and their families.
Each family also has unique bereavement needs during and after the death of a loved one. The team that cared for a patient continues to follow their family through a bereavement period of up to 13 months. In addition, there are other bereavement services that are available on an ongoing basis to families of hospice patients and individuals in the community who have experienced a loss.
*Certified Home Health Aides are contracted through Hunterdon Healthcare’s Visiting Health and Supportive Services (VHSS). VHSS Certified Home Health Aides receives accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Home Care, Inc.
Founded in 1979, Hunterdon Hospice is a Medicare-certified, non-profit organization providing hospice care to individuals in Hunterdon County and the bordering communities of Mercer, Warren, and Somerset counties. Hunterdon Hospice is licensed in the state of NJ, accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, and a United Way member agency.
Volunteers are an essential part of the Hunterdon Hospice team. They are the cornerstone of hospice care and provide a lifeline to the community for patients and their families. Volunteers tell us that this is life-affirming work. They experience moments of humor, laughter, and friendship. Patients teach them about life and how to live with courage, dignity, and hope. Families tell us that the volunteers provide valuable support that they did not always realize they needed.
Here are some comments about volunteers from our families:
- My spouse’s appreciation for the hospice volunteer goes above and beyond praise. The volunteer was ready and willing to do what was needed. She kept him focused and his morale vital till the end. Thank God for her! We’re forever grateful.
- The volunteers were Mom’s social “lifeline.” She looked forward to their visits, was very excited and happy on the days that they came. They are incredible assets to hospice!!
- The volunteer was excellent. She allowed us to rest and recharge.
As a hospice volunteer, your contribution can come in many ways, from lending clerical and office support, participating in our fundraising events, reaching out to educate the community, or supporting patients and family caregivers. Whatever role you choose to play, no matter how small or large, your contribution will be immeasurable to the hospice program.
All volunteers are required to attend an extensive training program offered by Hunterdon Hospice, which is usually offered twice a year. The training is designed to educate on hospice and the services we provide, as well as prepare volunteers to visit with patients and their families. Issues addressed include pain management, grief and bereavement, active listening, and the meaning of illness to the patient and their families.
We accept applications throughout the year.
To request more information or to speak to someone about any of our services, please call 908-788-6600.
Each family has unique bereavement needs during and after the death of a loved one. The team that cared for a patient continues to follow the family through a bereavement period of up to 13 months.
Hunterdon Hospice offers a variety of programs, services, and resources (listed below) to meet the needs of families of hospice patients and individuals in the community who are dealing with the loss of a loved one. Additional information is available by contacting our office at 908-788-6600 from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.
Growing Through Loss
Because living and dealing with the death of a loved one is difficult, Hunterdon Hospice offers Growing Through Loss, a free, open, and ongoing group that provides information, emotional support, and an opportunity to discuss feelings and share common problems. Information shared in the group is confidential. The group is open to the community and offers special support for spouses, adult children, friends, and siblings who have sustained a loss through the death of a loved one. This group is being held in person* and virtually the 2nd and 4th Thursday of every month, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm. Please check our Event Calendar for dates and times.
Hunterdon Hospice provides this service to anyone in the community who has suffered a loss. Referrals to appropriate community services can be made as needed or requested.
Children/Youth Bereavement Support
A Youth Art Therapy Support Group is available to help children ages 5 to 18 in dealing with grief due to the death of a loved one. This program uses art as a medium to express grief. Parents participate in their own sessions to understand grief and the grieving process for themselves and their children. This 12-week program is offered annually in the spring. Please check our Event Calendar for dates and times.
Available to members of the community who have sustained a recent loss; these monthly informational mailings are a self-help correspondence program to assist a person or family in moving through healthy mourning for the first year following a death.
Brief Intervention & Referral Services
We offer a listing of private therapists and other community-based services that may be useful to a family or individual needing specialized support around grief issues.
Note: When you click on the following resources you will leave the Hunterdon Healthcare System website and be redirected to an outside site. The individuals portrayed on the outside sites are not employees of Hunterdon Healthcare. Hunterdon Healthcare does not endorse any particular products advertised on the websites visited.
www.adec.org (Association for Death Education and Counseling)
www.chionline.org (Children’s Hospice International)
When I begin hospice, can I keep my doctor?
Yes. Your physician and our Medical Director work with the hospice team to ensure your needs are met.
How is Hospice paid for?
All hospice services are covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurances. Hospice does not turn away anyone, even if there is no reimbursement for services.
Do I have to “go” to Hospice?
Hospice care is provided primarily in your own home. Most people want to be at home surrounded by loved ones and in a familiar setting when they are seriously ill. For some people, their home is an assisted living or nursing facility. We provide the same services wherever the person lives.
Do you have to be a certain age to receive Hospice services?
Hunterdon Hospice provides service to people of all ages, including children. We recognize the unique needs of children and their families during this difficult time.
Do I have to stop my medications?
The focus of Hospice care is comfort and quality of life. The hospice nurses work closely with your doctors to review all medications to ensure you have what you need to treat your illness with the focus being on symptom management. There are occasions when a new medication may be ordered, as well as times when a medication may be discontinued. The nurse will provide information on all your medications so that you are always completely informed.
When is it “time” to call Hospice?
The earlier hospice care is initiated, the sooner pain and symptoms can be controlled. The best time to initiate hospice is soon after diagnosis of a life-limiting illness. Hospice focuses on quality of life and support to family and caregivers. The latest statistics show that people receiving hospice services live longer than those receiving just customary treatment.
These signs may help you determine the best time for hospice:
- When an illness has progressed to the point where the focus is on comfort and there is no cure.
- When a person chooses to stop treatment or does not want treatment or further testing for a serious illness.
- When a person wants care at home and not continual hospitalizations.
Of course, you should talk to your doctor about your wishes, and ask for advice to help you determine when hospice is right for you.
How is the family supported?
Hospice services are not just for the patient. Hospice provides emotional support for the caregiver as well. These supports are individually provided. For example, the volunteer program can provide relief to the family so they can take the time to go out or take care of their own needs.
We offer information regarding community resources as well. Caregivers and families have the support of aides to assist with personal care. Families know they can call a nurse 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Why choose Hunterdon Hospice?
While there are many hospice organizations serving the area, Hunterdon Hospice has been providing services in Hunterdon, Warren, Somerset, and Mercer counties for more than 30 years. Our staff averages 20 years of experience in hospice care and most of our nurses are certified in hospice and palliative care.
Hunterdon Hospice’s Medical Director is certified in Hospice and Palliative Medicine and our Social Workers are Master’s prepared and licensed social workers. Our Chaplain has a Master of Divinity and we have more than 150 trained volunteers. Our staff lives and works in your community, which ensures a prompt response to your needs.
We are affiliated with Hunterdon Healthcare and have collaborative relationships with local nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Hunterdon County.
Most importantly, for the past three years, 100 percent of our families responded to a survey saying they would recommend Hunterdon Hospice.
Request additional information from Hunterdon Hospice:
- General Information Packet – provides information on Hunterdon Hospice, The Hospice Medicare Benefit, Advanced Directives/Medical Proxies, volunteering and community resources.
- Children’s Packet – provides information to families on how to support the special needs of children of all ages who are dealing with the death and dying of someone they love.
Important web links:
- The New Jersey Hospice and Palliative Care Organization www.njhospice.org
- National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization www.nhpco.org
- Caring Connections www.caringinfo.org
- Self-Help Support Group Directory www.njgroups.org or contact 1-800-367-6274
- Calendar of Events
Expressing your end-of-life care wishes and assigning an individual to represent your wishes in a medical care situation is an important gift that you give to your friends and family. Hunterdon Hospice offers a checklist if you need additional information to help you complete your planning. Please contact Hunterdon Hospice for a booklet that walks you through the questions that you need to ask before completing these documents.
If your club or organization would like to host a presentation on a health topic or issue, please contact our Speaker’s Bureau to make arrangements.
Susan M. Bauman, MDPrimary Care Physician
Additional Staff & Specialists
Joann Halder, RN, BSN, CHPNHospice Liaison
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