Palliative & Supportive Care of Nantucket offers a broad range of physical, psychological, social and spiritual care for persons with life-threatening illness and their families. All services provided directly by our program’s staff are provided free of charge, thanks to the generosity of the Nantucket community and the dedicated work of Palliative & Supportive Care of Nantucket Foundation, which raises the funds to support this program.
Services are provided by our interdisciplinary team of professionals and volunteers and are aimed at providing education, support, and symptom control from the time of diagnosis through cure or, if cure is not possible, through advancing illness and end-of-life.
When cure of the disease is possible, the emphasis of our care is on helping patients/families deal with the impact of serious illness, assisting them in understanding the disease and making decisions about treatment and care, relieving symptoms related to the illness or treatments, and coping with the emotional, social, and spiritual distress that may occur.
When cure seems unlikely, our goal is to help patients remain as comfortable as possible so that they may live their lives fully. The focus of our care is on providing patients with expert control of pain and other symptoms, and on providing patient and family education and emotional, social, and spiritual support.
When an illness is terminal, our care is focused on maintaining peacefulness and comfort, and on helping patients and families bring meaningful closure to their lives, complete their unfinished business, and prepare for death in the best manner possible. Our staff remains supportive to both patients and families through death, and is available to support families throughout the first year of bereavement.
Settings of Care
All of our services are provided in the most appropriate setting for our patients’ needs – at home, in the hospital, or in the nursing home. When patients are well enough to be out and about, consultative visits for education, counseling, support, assistance with decisions, advance care planning, strategies for pain and symptom management, etc. are provided at our office, either on a short-term or an on-going basis. Relaxation and stress management sessions are also available for patients and families.
Advance Care Planning – Information and individual consultations are available to help patients and families develop advance care plans and think about MOLST (Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment).
Cancer Support Program – The goal of this program is to help people regain and maintain well-being throughout the entire cancer experience from diagnosis, through treatment, and after treatment has ended, by supporting and empowering them to cope with the disease and its effects so that they may live life fully.
Caregivers’ Connections Support Program – Our staff provides education, counseling, and support, in private and/or group sessions, for family caregivers of persons with chronic illness or disabilities. Volunteers are available to provide practical assistance, companionship, and respite breaks. “Time Out” is a caregivers’ support group which meets twice monthly. Caregivers Connections is partially funded through a Title IIIB grant of MA Executive Office of Elder Affairs and the Federal Administration for Community Living.
Children’s Services – Tapestries is our program of support for children who have life-threatening illness, coping with the serious illness of someone they love, or grieving the death of someone they love.
Community Education and Outreach – Public education, speakers, and consultations to schools, workplaces, and other organizations are provided. An extensive library of books is available for loan through our office, and others have been donated through the Nancy Adam Hospice Education Fund to the Nantucket Atheneum and the Saltmarsh Senior Center for further distribution.
Coping with Cancer Support Group – A support group for people with any stage of cancer and family members or friends of someone with cancer. Facilitated by a health care professional, participants come together to discuss concerns and share ideas in a safe and welcoming environment. Meets twice monthly.
Grief and Bereavement – Our staff provides education, basic counseling, and support for individuals or groups who are affected by grief. We also offer a Grief Support Group facilitated by a palliative care counselor twice a month for those who have lost a loved one.
Professional Education – Our staff is available as a resource for health and human services professionals for information, education, and consultations on pain and symptom control, end-of-life care, and related subjects.
Volunteer Assistance – Our trained volunteers are available to help in many ways including reading to the patient, assisting with errands, providing company, and just being there.