West Palm Beach-based MorseLife Health System has launched a new hospice service—Palm Beach Hospice and Palliative Care—designed to address the end-of-life care needs of Jewish patients and their families.
Though the new hospice and palliative care service is open to patients of all religions, the program specializes in providing services that take into account Jewish religious and cultural protocols, beliefs, and rituals related to the end of life.
“With such a sizeable Jewish population in South Florida, MorseLife believes having a rabbi as a part of the interdisciplinary team is a significant added benefit and will, indeed, influence decisions related to end-of-life care,” MorseLife CEO Keith Myers told Hospice News.
Close to 600,000 people who identify with the Jewish faith reside in southern Florida, according to the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County. Religious Jewish perceptions of hospice and palliative care are complex and can vary among branches of Judaism, according to a report from the Duke Institute of Care at the End of Life.
Clinicians in the Palm Beach program provide hospice and palliative care with the support of a rabbi and a chaplain who advise nurses, physicians, and staff regarding religious perspectives on suffering, pain management, life support, as well as traditions related to burial and bereavement.
In addition to this new hospice venture, MorseLife Health provides senior living, assisted living, memory care, long term care, rehabilitation services, home health care, and other services for seniors.
Hospice and palliative care patients do not have to be residents of a MorseLife facility in order to receive services. The program will provide routine home care in private residences throughout the Palm Beach region as well as in area hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, or assisted living venues.
“We are focused on providing the best in end of life care,” Myers said. “[Palm Beach Hospice and Palliative Care] will provide the additional service needed to extend MorseLife’s continuum of care.”
Palm Beach is in the process of seeking certification for reimbursement through Medicare and Medicaid. In the interim, they are not charging patients for their services.