Inside Athena: The Vision of Hospice Services of Massachusetts Executive Director
LAKEVILLE, M.A. — Tricia Kelleher’s vision as the Executive Director of Hospice Services of Massachusetts is to continue to build upon its reputation of taking care of the community and the staff.
She joined as the executive director in January but has been with the company since 2011 serving as a nurse case manager, screening and admitting nurse, and then clinical director. She attributes her tenure to the team she works with, many of which have been alongside her since joining Athena. When the opportunity presented itself, she took the chance as executive director because she knew the team and was ready to take on the role.
“I also like the challenge. I was ready to take on new responsibilities,” Kelleher said.
Having spent more than six months in the role, she explains her top priorities are making sure the patients and their families are supported. In addition to the clients, Tricia intends to mentor and advocate for every Hospice employee she oversees in both Hospice locations, Lakeville and Haverhill, and throughout Eastern Massachusetts. She happily explains that Hospice Services of Massachusetts has passed three Department of Public Health surveys in the past and continues to remain deficiency free since January.
Moving forward, her goal is to increase the number of people the team cares for. The pandemic impacted the census and, now being fully staffed, she said they are ready to grow.
“That’s exciting because we have great nurses, great C.N.A.s, great social workers, office staff, and we’re ready to take on more,” she said.
Working in the hospice industry can be tough, but Kelleher said the patients and families they work with and those moments that come at the end of life inspire her to do great work and motivate her team to do the same.
“When you get those calls after that patient has passed and their loved one calls you or writes letters to you and tells you how much of a difference you made, it’s that,” she said.
As executive director, managing staff is a big part of her role. She wants all her team members to know she is there to offer support whenever they need it.
“I think [the staff] already know this, I want to be the type of executive director that can go out and see a patient. I can go do an admission. I can do whatever is needed and I want them to know I will do that,” Kelleher said.
The Springfield College graduate also works closely with the families, many of which may be navigating hospice for the first time. When she gets those phone calls, she explains to them that Hospice Services of Massachusetts has a strong team, which includes chaplains for spiritual support, nursing support, social workers, bereavement coordinators and volunteers, available 24/7 if needed. She explains how it’s best to get someone on hospice as soon as possible, if eligible, because the team can start to build those relationships with the patient and their family to provide the best quality of life for them.
“We have a very quick turnaround time. If we get a call from a family at home and they have a loved one who is transitioning pretty quickly, we go out that day. We do everything we can to move as quickly as possible if needed,” she said.
Anyone looking to learn more about hospice services can call 866-991-0049 for help in the process or read more on our website here.