Health Care

Frequently Asked Questions

Admissions and Long-term Care 

What is the admission process if my loved one is currently living at home?
We accept referrals from hospitals, senior care facilities (i.e., assisted living), physicians, family members, and seniors in the community.  Interested future residents are admitted based on their need for long-term care services, the availability of beds, and their assessed level of care.

To help us prepare both clinically and financially for a senior's care, our admission procedure includes an application to gather medical care history and financial data and an interview with a social worker to assess the level of care required, share our philosophy, and answer questions about life at HRC.

A social worker follows the senior throughout the application process to assist the senior and family members in decision-making and to provide support during the transition period from application to admission.


How does the admission process work if my loved one is in the hospital?
If your loved one is in the hospital or a sub-acute facility, a referral to HRC is initiated either by your family or your loved one's case manager. An HRC clinical nurse liaison will conduct an evaluation of your loved one at the hospital and will speak with you and your family. The evaluation is forwarded to our Admissions Office to determine if the placement is appropriate. Concurrent with this process, your family will complete the necessary forms for admission to HRC. Generally, a decision on whether admission is appropriate is made within 24 hours.


How is my relative's level of care determined?
A number of things are taken into consideration when determining a future resident's level of care, including the amount of assistance they need in managing day-to-day activities, the level of medical management they need, and the social support they require. Our social workers can then determine the unit best meeting your relative's needs.  


Is there still a long waiting list for admission?
There is no single waiting list for HRC admission. Our active waiting list is intended for applicants who are actively pursuing admission and would be prepared to move into our facility immediately. The length of time an applicant might wait for admission is based on multiple factors, including the future resident's care needs and bed availability, and could range from a few days to a number of months.


My relative has dementia. Can he be admitted?
Of course. Our Specialized Care Unit (SCU) provides a continuum of care for residents with Alzheimer's disease or related dementias. The unit takes a holistic approach to managing residents with dementia, focusing on residents' emotional, physical, social, environmental, intellectual, spiritual and vocational wellness. The SCU meets Alzheimer's Association guidelines, and all direct care staff have received at least 12 hours of Alzheimer's Association training.


Who will be my loved one's doctor?
Every resident is assigned an HRC physician. Most of our physicians specialize in geriatrics and hold a faculty appointment at Harvard Medical School. We have physicians onsite seven days a week, and we have two geriatric psychiatrists on staff who are available for consultation when needed. The medical care and services provided to our residents exceeds what is normally found in a long-term care facility.


My family is not Jewish. Can my relative still live at HRC?
Of course they can live at HRC.  While HRC has a strong history and tradition tied to the Jewish faith, residents in our facility need not be Jewish. We are a non-sectarian, non-profit organization that accepts residents of all faiths. Our Religious Services department works to build a rich spiritual environment and to support religious life throughout the organization. The department provides pastoral care and religious accommodations to people of all faiths.


What type of activities do you have?
Our activities are based on the needs and interests of residents. Recreation therapists coordinate a schedule of activities that allows residents to participate in a range of programs they will enjoy and benefit from. Special attention is given to ensuring that programs are adapted to meet the various ability levels of our residents.

Recreation calendars  are posted on the main activity boards. Individual unit programs are posted on each unit.


What happens if my relative gets sick? Where will he receive his health care?
Residents who are too sick to be cared for in our facility are transferred to an area hospital for treatment. We are located within a couple of miles of most major medical centers in Boston. This proximity offers our residents and their families the security of knowing that acute care and physicians are easily accessible, if needed. Our physicians are affiliated with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; however, our residents are not limited to care only at BIDMC. Upon discharge from the hospital, our residents have priority admission to our post-acute care units - the Medical Acute Care Unit and the Recuperative Services Unit - depending on their medical and rehabilitation needs before returning to their long-term care unit.


Can my relative use all of the services at HRC, like the outpatient clinics and other medical services?
The staff and services of our outpatient clinics  and specialty medical programs are available to all HRC residents. This includes physical, occupational, speech/language and other therapists, as well as specialists in dental medicine, ophthalmology, audiology and other medical specialties. Residents can be seen either in our clinic area or on their unit.

Among the many features that make HRC unique are our onsite clinics (e.g., podiatry, audiology, orthopedics, etc.) and our radiology, pharmacy and laboratory services. By having these onsite, we avoid disrupting a resident's life by transporting them via ambulance or chair car to a local outpatient department to receive these services.



Do you offer palliative care?
Our Palliative Care Program  focuses on relief of the pain, symptoms and stress of serious illness, whatever the diagnosis. Our goal is to help residents live comfortably and attain the best possible quality so that they may retain their comfort, dignity and control. A physician referral is required for palliative care services.


When can family members visit?
Because visiting with friends and family members is an important part of resident care, there are no set visiting hours at HRC. Visitors are welcome at all times. Family members should know their relative's schedule, so they can plan visits accordingly. If you visit during off hours, we ask that you please keep the consideration and privacy of other residents in mind.


HRC is a kosher facility. Can I bring food in to my relative?
HRC has a kosher kitchen that provides meals to residents. For breakfast and lunch, Monday through Friday, we also offer a cafeteria for our staff and visitors, where guests can choose from a complement of kosher foods. On the units and in all public spaces, we ask staff to serve residents and guests only food that is prepared in our kitchen or brought in from clearly hekshered (marked kosher) businesses. Staff and guests are free to bring in for personal consumption whatever they want as long as it is consumed privately and is not in any way in contact with our dishes or silverware.

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Is my relative's health status reviewed on a regular basis? How can I learn about changes in my relative's health status and care plan?

Resident health status is reviewed at HRC every six months. Team planning meetings, which include physicians, nurses, nursing assistants, therapists, dietitians and social workers, are held twice a year and are designed to give a "total picture" of a resident's health, as well as to develop a multidisciplinary approach to care. The resident's primary family designee will receive a letter from our Social Services department prior to the meeting, asking if the family has specific issues or concerns they would like addressed. Following the meeting, the unit social worker will call the family member to provide an update on their relative's care plan. While these planning meetings are designed to examine residents' chronic health, acute reviews are conducted when the need arises or when the family makes a request for a specific issue to be reviewed.


How can I stay involved in my relative's life at HRC?
Families can-and should-play an active and meaningful role in the life of their relative. This has always been the philosophy of care at HRC. Family members are involved in care planning, personal caregiving, successful visits, creating a "community of families," and volunteer activities. In the summer of 2006, we initiated a new Family Forum that meets once a month with interested family members to promote family partnerships. The focus of these forums is informational, but they also give HRC leaders insight into issues families see as important for residents and HRC. The Family Forum provides a vital link among residents, family members, and HRC staff.


How can HRC residents take advantage of research findings from the Institute for Aging Research? Can they participate in studies?
The Institute for Aging Research  (IFAR) is the largest gerontological research facility located in an applied setting in the U.S. That means that research findings from IFAR studies can be directly translated to the benefit of our residents. Scientists at IFAR conduct rigorous medical and social studies, and are leading the way in developing a variety of strategies for maximizing individuals' strength, vigor and physical well-being, as well as their cognitive and functional independence in late life. Because IFAR is located within the HRC facility, our residents are often the first beneficiaries of our research findings. In addition, many of our residents participate in studies as research subjects, enabling our experts to conduct clinical investigations and readily apply their findings to older patients.


How can I volunteer at HRC?
Volunteers  are an integral part of our commitment to caring for the physical and emotional well-being of our seniors. HRC was founded by volunteers, and it is this tradition of giving that, a century later, helps keep it strong. Because people have many obligations, we encourage you to set your own schedule: days or evenings, an hour or two a week, or once a month-no matter how much time you give, you will be making a difference. Volunteers at HRC receive on-the-job training and supervision, as well as free parking and cafeteria meal vouchers.

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Do you offer interpreter services for residents who don't speak English?

Yes. Residents whose primary language is other than English have 24-hour access to free interpreter services. Through an outside agency, non-English-speaking residents have access to telephone interpreting services, ensuring that they have equal access to services and programs through qualified medical interpreters. In addition, some of our bilingual employees have been trained to provide medical interpretation and are available onsite on a voluntary basis. On-call interpreters are also available as needed.

To access interpreter services, call Social Services at 617-363-8400, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and an interpreter will be contacted. After 5 p.m. or on weekends and holidays, all 617-363-8000 and ask to page the Clinical Coordinator.

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