No timetable to call Hospice


To the Editor:

Over dinner conversation with my wife recently, the conversation turned toward the struggle of a friend with cancer. “Did they call Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard?” I asked. “She may not be that far along,” my wife responded, “and I am not sure that’s what she would want right now”.

I had to think for a moment. Then my first thought was that calling Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard is for right now. It is for your life while you are living it. While it is certainly true that Hospice is there for end of life care, the end of your life is not our goal. There is no timetable to call Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard; there is no specific prognosis required.

You may have heard about “different hospices” on Martha’s Vineyard. There is a good reason for that. Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard does not charge for its services. There is no prognosis requirement to qualify for the help. However, in this world of complicated health care, there are services that require payment. This is where Island Hospice, a Medicare-certified organization, comes in. If appropriate, Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard will transfer your care to Island Hospice, so you can get the benefit of insurance coverage. Together, the two hospices provide seamless care. No matter where you are in your journey, you have the services that are appropriate.

I am a paramedic. I am the coordinator of the Tisbury Ambulance Service. I am also on the board of directors of Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard. I have been to your homes in the middle of a cold or wet night. I have helped take you home. I am far from alone. Our EMTs on Martha’s Vineyard know about the confusion and tension of lights, radios, strangers, and more. We know that these are your most private moments. We know that this may be the fourth, fifth, sixth trip to the emergency department in a short period of time. We also know that because of Hospice we may not have to come as often.

As an emergency service coordinator and administrator I see first hand the positive impact on public health that Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard has. Quality home care improves the quality of life for patients and families.

At my first Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard board meeting, I learned that if my family, a friend, or I was in trouble with serious disease, that’s the time to call Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard.

Jeffrey PrattMAEMT-PAmbulance CoordinatorTisbury Ambulance


Board of DirectorsHospice of Martha’s Vineyard