NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Saint Peter’s University Hospital (SPUH) has recently made an agreement with a new provider for adult hospice care.

Officially effective in the beginning of March, Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care of New Jersey began accepting referrals of patients who are eligible for inpatient and outpatient hospice services.

Hospice care is tailored to patients with terminal illnesses such as cancer, AIDS, Alzheimer’s, end-stage kidney disease and lung disease.

Hospice care is aimed to be palliative, providing care to alleviate patients pain and symptoms. This care also provides emotional support for the patients and their families.

“It’s a service to families given that people who become terminally ill have a difficult time coping. As a compassionate healthcare organization, we would offer this,” said Phil Hartman, Director of Public Relations at SPUH.

The implemented plan provides on-site staff to care for inpatients during the day, and the care that is needed after hours. This includes a nurse from Seasons Hospice present for at least six hours a day, from Monday to Friday. They not only provide patient care, but also perform evaluations and providing education for the patient and their family.

To be eligible for hospice care, the life expectancy of the patient with the illness must be six months or less, and the patient must be in need of acute symptom management.

The patients who are treated with hospice care have access to pain and symptom management: a pharmacy, medical equipment services, spiritual and emotional support methods, and access to staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“These months, days, weeks and moments can be among life’s most precious – and that is precisely the reason that Seasons Hospice exists,” is one of the mission statements from the Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care website.

Currently most of the hospice care provided is for patients in the oncology and intensive care units.

Four patients are using the hospice program since the beginning of March, offering a very personal and individualized approach in care.

“It’s a matter of caring for the entire person from the implementation of life to the end of life. It’s something we as an organization believe in,” says Hartman.  

SPUH, a teaching hospital located on Easton Avenue, is sponsored by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Metuchen.

It is the regional specialist for geriatrics, oncology, orthopedics, women’s services and ambulatory care. It is also a state-recognized children’s hospital.