We care across New York for patients and families facing the end of life
The emotional support and pain management expertise that hospice offers can make an enormous difference for patients and their families—and every day, week, and month counts when adding to a person’s quality of life. As the only hospice program serving all five boroughs of New York City, VNSNY Hospice and Palliative Care provides comfort and dignity at the end of life. The services of our interdisciplinary hospice teams include skilled, compassionate medical, nursing, and spiritual care to manage symptoms and keep patients as comfortable as possible while also supporting their families through end-of-life education, bereavement counseling, and other services.
Founded in 1983, our hospice is the largest in New York City, caring for approximately 1,400 patients on any given day. In 2019, we provided hospice and palliative care services to over 6,400 patients and their families.
While the majority of our hospice patients are cared for at home, VNSNY also provides specialized end-of-life care in other settings, including nursing homes and assisted living facilities throughout the city. VNSNY Hospice and Palliative Care is proud to offer specialized outreach to specific constituencies as well, including military veterans, patients with advanced cardiac disease or COPD, underserved African-Americans in Harlem, and LGBT patients. Donations to our hospice program make specialized care and programs possible for those in need.
With its Level Five rating from the veterans’ group We Honor Veterans (the highest recognition the group bestows), VNSNY Hospice’s veterans program has established itself as a leader in providing end-of-life care to those who have served the US in combat. One of the program’s most moving experiences is the “bedside recognition” ceremony, where veterans are honored for their service and presented a certificate and other items, including blankets made by VNSNY volunteers—many of whom are military spouses and/or parents.
VNSNY’s highly regarded Physician Fellowship Training program offers carefully designed hospice rotations to fellows from NYC medical centers. These rotations give the next generation of physicians a unique perspective of hospice in a home setting. The program also provides medical students with the opportunity to shadow a hospice physician or nurse.
The benefits of hospice care transcend race and religion, but nationwide and in New York City, hospice services are under-utilized by African-Americans and Hispanics. VNSNY’s HOPE (Hospice Outreach Patient and provider Education) responds to this disparity through coordinated outreach and education. HOPE addresses cultural and institutional barriers, working in the Harlem community to strengthen collaborative relationships with faith-based leaders, community-based organizations, and physician and hospital partners to increase awareness of hospice through media, education, outreach, and counseling support.
Volunteers are an integral part of the hands-on comforting care that VNSNY hospice brings to patients and families, providing friendly visits, bereavement support, compassionate touch, and pet therapy visits (as well as office help and support at hospice events and educational programs). Some volunteers provide Tele-Care, making regular phone calls to family members, offering encouragement and support as they care for loved ones at home, and arranging for clinical interventions when appropriate.
Vigil Volunteers address the simple and humanistic goal that no patient will be alone at the end of life. These volunteers receive additional training and provide comfort and support at a critical time.
Find out more about VNSNY’s Hospice Volunteer program.