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The Gift of Hospice Care

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Hospice care is a special kind of care that focuses on the quality of life for people experiencing an advanced life limiting illness. Compassionate holistic care of the patient and family are provided to ensure the patient may live as fully and comfortably as possible. The hospice philosophy treats the person and the symptoms of the disease, rather than treating the disease itself.

We know there is no roadmap for how to feel, plan and cope with what you are experiencing at this moment, but you are not alone. Our Hackensack Meridian Health expert hospice care team is your resource for navigating the unknowns and challenges ahead.

Hospice care includes many things, but what it means to us is dignity, respect, comfort, quality of life and time together at life’s most precious moments.

Experience Convenience and Peace of Mind with Just One Call

As a partner in your care, our hospice teams, led by our medical director physician and composed of nurses, social workers, chaplains,bereavement professionals and home health aides, tailor your treatment plan to your needs. The medical director can work directly with your personal physician as well.

Ask your physician ab out us by name, hospital or residential care facility.

Hackensack Meridian Hospice - Serving Monmouth, Ocean, Middlesex, Somerset and Union counties, call 800-655-2555.

VHS Hospice Service of New Jersey - Serving Bergen, Hudson and Passaic counties, call 844-777-0711.

Why Choose Us For Hospice Care

As the largest and most comprehensive health network in New Jersey, our hospitals and care facilities are nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report, among other distinguished recognitions for our facilities and physicians.

We have been providing hospice care to patients and families in New Jersey for over 30 years. The foundation of our reputation for quality care and service is that we hire, train and retain the best talent in the field. Our training and consistency of staffing assures the trusted relationships with patient and caregiver that allow us to deliver the dignity, respect and compassion that is the greatest gift of hospice care.

To us, hospice care is the most intimate and emotional decision a family can make. The level of trust you will put into your hospice provider may be unlike any other care choice you may make. We believe when life can no longer be extended or quality cannot be preserved through treatment, every remaining moment can be lovingly tranquil, comfortable and peaceful. We welcome the opportunity to serve you and your family.

When discussing hospice care options with your physicians and care team, please request Hackensack Meridian Hospice and VHS Hospice Services by name.

Hospice Facts

  1. With hospice, you may live longer. - It’s not unusual to feel better once the pain and symptoms of your illness are better controlled. According to a study in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, hospice extended life an average of 29 days. By careful management and treatment of symptoms, and care for physical and emotional well-being, patients felt better, which may have given them the will and fortitude to live longer.
  2. Hospice is a covered benefit. - Hospice is covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance plans. Hospice is for those patients who have a life expectancy of six months or less, should the disease follow its natural course. To be hospice eligible, a physician must certify a prognosis of 6 months or less, but once on hospice, additional benefit periods can occur, as long a. Once on hospice, many patients and families say they wish they had started services sooner.
  3. It’s not just for people with cancer. - We care for a wide range of people who have decided to no longer pursue a cure for their illness, and instead seek comfort, symptom management and quality of life. These patients have life-limiting illnesses such as end-stage heart, lung or renal disease; dementia; ALS; stroke, and neurological disorders, among others. 
  4. Family and friends provide care with support from the hospice team. - Family and friends are a hospice patient’s primary caregivers, supported and trained by our expert team that makes regular, scheduled visits. Our team is available 24/7, 365 days per year by phone and for urgent visits. For patients who live in assisted living communities and nursing homes, the hospice team works together with the facility staff. 
  5. Most hospice care occurs at home. - Hospice is not a place, but a philosophy of care that involves the patient’s entire support system. A majority of our patients are cared for in their home, or the place they call home, surrounded by the people and the things they love. The care team comes to you — in your home, along with the equipment needed, medications and supplies, all covered under the hospice benefit. We are also able to provide inpatient care for short term management of uncontrolled symptoms that cannot be handled in another setting, and for respite when a caregiver needs a break.
  6. You stay in control. - The end of life is a very personal experience with a lot of medical needs. We want to know what is most important to you and what a good day looks like to you. Together, we design the care you want, in the manner you choose, on your terms.
  7. Signing up doesn’t mean giving up. - We can offer therapies that better manage symptoms and provide comfort. Hospice means shifting from the goal of a longer life through treatments, to creating the best quality of life for the days you have left. You remain in charge of your medical decisions.
  8. You can change your mind. - Goals and needs may change over time. If you choose to seek aggressive medical treatment, hospice may not be for you. You have to qualify for hospice, but you can opt out at any time for as long as you like. You can opt back in later, as long as you qualify.
  9. Hospice is for the entire family, now and later. - The care we provide to the family lessens the burden of care and the stressfulness of death. Our bereavement team empowers families to manage grief by identifying areas of strengths and support. Bereavement services start at hospice admission and continue for 13 months after your loved one’s passing. 

When to Consider Hospice

  1. Diagnosis of life-limiting condition with a prognosis of six months or less if the disease runs its ordinary course (or an acute medical scenario such as heart attack or stroke that has put death on the immediate horizon) 
  2. Failure to improve despite current treatment regime or the patient wishes to cease curative treatments because they are diminishing their quality of life 
  3. More frequent doctor visits, hospital stays or ER/Urgent Care admissions 
  4. Decreased appetite and weight loss 
  5. Inability to complete daily tasks independently (bathing, dressing, getting to the bathroom safely, meal preparation, etc.) 
  6. An increase in lack of balance, falls, or near misses 
  7. Changes in cognitive ability. Memory loss, confusion, and difficulty communicating
  8. Sleeping more 
  9. Breakdowns in skin tissue such as more frequent tears, bedsores, or inexplicable bruising/swelling 
  10. Symptoms getting harder to manage. Pain, shortness of breath, restlessness, difficulty swallowing. 
  11. You are feeling overwhelmed or stressed as a caregiver.

Our Team Approach to Care

Our philosophy of hospice care focuses on improving the quality of every minute of life for individuals coping with end-of-life care needs, but we also nurture the emotional needs of loved ones and family. Our care team takes care of all needs of the patient, but also provides support for the family so they can enjoy every precious moment with their loved one.

Hospice care does not mean your primary or attending physicians are no longer involved, we partner with your physicians to provide hospice care in collaboration with your doctors and care provide

Our medical director will work directly with your physicians to develop, manage and monitor your personal care plan. Care and services are customized to you and your family’s unique needs and preferences, while addressing every concern and question you may have.

Our hospice care is provided by an experienced interdisciplinary team led by a board certified physician who supervises all medical care.

You hospice care team includes:

  • Medical Director/Physicians
  • Registered Hospice Trained Nurses
  • Certified Home Health Aides
  • Social Workers/Counselors who address a full range of psychosocial needs from diagnosis through bereavement
  • Physical, Occupational, Speech, and Nutritional Therapists
  • Trained Volunteers who provide support and practical assistance to patients and families
  • Clergy and spiritual support for all faiths
  • Bereavement Services
  • Medical Equipment and Supplies Coordinator

We believe in a fully inclusive model of care. Our team includes the patient and family in every aspect of care, believing it is vital to excellent care that we are not only a provider of care, we are a trusted partner in care that has been invited to your home or bedside.

We are especially proud of our hospice care team, as they could choose any area of medicine, but they passionately choose to share their heart and love of caregiving with individuals to savor every moment of the hospice journey with dignity, respect and warmth.