Home Health & Hospice


What is a Home Health Agency?

A home health agency is a provider of home health services which include skilled nursing services, home health aides, and at least one other home care service such as medical social services, and therapies such as physical, occupational or speech therapy.

Are your services available for the elderly in nursing homes or assisted living facilities?

Home Health services are available in the home and in assisted living facilities. Hospice services are available in the family home, skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities.

When should someone elect the Hospice benefit?

The earlier Hospice can become involved in your loved one’s care, the more beneficial our services will be.  Recent studies have shown that early Hospice involvement actually increases the quality and length of many patients lives.  Additionally, it is hard to learn how to care for someone in a home setting in a crisis situation.  Early admission into a Hospice Program gives the patient time to learn how best to maximize their quality of life and the family the support necessary to care for their loved one.  In addition, early election allows for access to services such as spiritual, social work, volunteers, and evaluation as needed by the Hospice Medical Director or Associate Medical Director to better manage symptoms such as pain.

Will the patient keep their doctor? Can doctors visits in the patient’s home?

The patient’s primary care or attending physician becomes an integral part of the HAHHH Interdisciplinary Team when someone becomes a Hospice patient.  Our team works closely with the primary physician to manage the patient’s care.  Whether that doctor visits at home or not is up to each doctor.  HAHHH’s Medical Director or Associate Medical Director will visit a patient in his or her home, with the patient’s primary doctor’s permission.  The Medical Director or Associate Medical Director may visit to introduce the patient and family to hospice, provide palliative care consulting, and clarify patient goals for care.  The Medical Director may also visit to assess the patient and advise on complicated pain and symptom management issues.

How often do home care team members visit?

Visits will vary according to the needs of the patient and family.  If the patient’s condition or care giving needs change, additional visits will be made as needed.  HAHHH has 24-hour availability of hospice staff for phone consultation and/or unscheduled visits.  Each patient’s schedule of visits is customized based on their needs and the needs of their loved ones.  The nurse will discuss with the patient and family how often they will visit and how often the aide will visit, depending on the condition of the patient.  In hospice, the social worker and chaplain visits will vary depending on the specific needs or wishes of the patient and family.  For the patient whose condition is worsening or is experiencing increased pain and symptoms, the nurse may visit several times during the week or even daily, if necessary, to monitor the patient’s response to medication changes and to provide support to family members.  Volunteers will be offered and visits are scheduled with the Volunteer Coordinator.

What is the difference between HealthAlliance Home Health and Hospice and a visiting nurse agency?

Because HealthAlliance Home Health and Hospice is part of the UMass Memorial Health Care Network, we can offer an extensive care continuum, providing the right kind of care at the right time.

What medications are paid for by Hospice?

Hospice pays for medications that are used to control pain and symptoms related to the terminal diagnosis.  For example, if the terminal diagnosis is Congestive Heart Failure (CHF), then all medications related to managing the pain and symptoms of CHF will be covered.  If the patient has a second diagnosis such as diabetes, those medications are not covered, and the patient will obtain the medications for that condition from their local pharmacy.

Can I change the schedule if I have appointments?

Yes, changes are easily accommodated.  Client needs always come first.

How is Home Care or Hospice paid?

Rest assured that the services we offer are covered by Medicare and many other major health insurances with a physicians order. Please be aware that insurance benefits and requirements can quickly change. We will work with your insurer to help you understand your coverage and the coverage of our services.