Social Services &
Health Care Advocates

Connecting the island to care


Nantucket Cottage Hospital’s Social Services Department is committed to serving the mental health and psycho-social needs of the island. The psycho-social approach to wellness looks at individuals in the context of the combined influence of psychological, social, and financial resources and needs.

As a department we are informed by the Social Work Code of Ethics which emphasizes six core values of the Social Work profession:

Service: Our primary goal is to help people in need and address social problems.

Social Justice: We pursue social change and focus on issues of poverty, unemployment, and discrimination.

Dignity and Worth of the Person: We treat each person in a caring and respectful fashion. We promote the right to self-determination.

Importance of Human Relationships: We understand that relationships are an important vehicle for change. We seek to strengthen relationships between individuals, families, social groups, organizations, and communities.

Integrity: We act honestly and responsibly and promote ethical practices throughout our hospital.

Competence: We practice within our area of expertise and always strive to increase our professional knowledge and skills.

What we do:

  • Provide supportive counseling to the patients of Nantucket Cottage Hospital
  • Collaborate with the case management department who oversee discharge planning for all patients. Our goal is to make sure that patients have the resources they need to return home after a hospital stay
  • Oversee the care of behavioral health patients who may board in the Emergency Room or Med-Surge Floor until they can be transferred to a behavioral health facility
  • Provide consultation and referral to people who want to access mental health services on the island
  • Help local veterans navigate the VA Healthcare system
  • Help people with serious and persistent mental illness (SMI) complete applications for the Department of Mental Health
  • Coordinate with patients and families on matters of conservatorship and guardianship and help people identify when they need to access legal counsel
  • Help people who are experiencing financial hardship find resources to support them including: SNAP benefits (food stamps), WIC (supplemental nutritional program for women, infants and children), EAEDC (emergency aid to elderly, disabled and children), SSDI (disability), and social security
  • Provide education to patients and families about their rights under a Section 12, Section 35, guardianship, conservatorship or invoked healthcare proxy
  • Help people apply for subsidized housing programs
  • Oversee the interpreter services program to make sure that all patients, regardless of language need, receive the same quality of care
  • Attend the Post-Traumatic Stress Management Task Force meetings and the local chapter of NAMI’s (National Alliance for Mental Illness) behavioral health taskforce
  • Help people complete advanced directives (like healthcare proxies, MOLSTs, 5 wishes documents) so their wishes for care can be honored even when they are not able to express them to their care team
  • Provide social work services to the PASCON (Palliative and Supportive Care of Nantucket) team
  • Participate on the hospital’s Ethics Committee
  • Help seniors sign up for Medicare, and explain what Medicare covers, what it does not, what the different parts of Medicare do, and what supplemental insurance is
  • Help seniors review their prescription drug benefits during open enrollment (October 15 – December 7).
  • Help seniors investigate prescription assistance foundations if they do not have the insurance needed to pay for their prescriptions

We offer these and other social work services to the Nantucket community with the support of a generous grant from the Town of Nantucket.

But what about…?

  • Nantucket Cottage Hospital still conducts comprehensive discharge planning for patients who are leaving the hospital to transfer to another facility for care, or to return home with services in place. The coordination of these services is done by our Case Management Department.
  • Nantucket Cottage Hospital still offers insurance counseling for MassHealth Enrollment and other state-funded insurance programs such as the Health Connector. Our Enrollment Specialists and Certified Application Counselors are now located in the Patient Financial Services Department.
  • Nantucket Cottage Hospital can provide estimates to all patients upon request and financial counseling to patients who need help understanding the details of their bills.  Please allow 48 hours for response on estimates.  These Financial Counselors are now located in the Patient Financial Services Department.

On the Horizon

  • Our Social Services Manager is participating in a year-long post-masters certificate program in Palliative and End of Life Social Work through Smith College in order to better serve patients facing terminal illness
  • We are hosting a masters-level intern from Smith College School for Social Work for a 9 month clinical rotation in order to train the next generation of health and human service professionals on the island and increase the availability of social work services within the hospital

Nantucket Travel Funds

Emergency Medical Travel Fund

Administered by Nantucket Food Fuel and Rental Assistance, the Emergency Medical Travel fund can assist patients with financial help for off-island travel for medical appointments. This fund will reimburse up to $250 for a day-trip to receive medical care, and up to $500 for a multiple-day trip. The maximum amount of assistance per household is $500 annually. There is an application to receive assistance, please contact or 508-901-1320.

The Sailing Stork Fund

These funds can reimburse travel & lodging expenses incurred before, during and/or after delivery, for island families who are unable to deliver on Nantucket or whose newborns require treatment after delivery and must be flown to another hospital. A Doctor’s note is required to apply for funds, and should specify the date on which the Doctor has required a family to leave the island in preparation for delivery. (In case of emergency, the note can be written after delivery). Receipts must be submitted for reimbursement and Hospital Social Services will inform each family of their funding capacity upon submission of their first receipt. To access the Sailing Stork Fund, contact Social Services at 508-825-8196.

David Glidden Fund

Funding is available to individuals living with mental illness and their families who must travel for care, and can offer ferry Hyline tickets and reimbursement for taxis, car rental and hotel stays. There is an annual $2,000 cap per individual or family, which renews every year. An application is required to access these funds. Funding for this program is administered by NAMI on Nantucket, contact Suzanne Fronzuto at or (508) 332 9823.

Marla Ceely Lamb Cancer Travel Fund

The Marla Ceely Lamb Fund is a special fund to help defray the costs of transportation and lodging for patients who must travel off-island for cancer treatment. Thanks to the hard work of Marla’s family and friends, and to the generosity of the community, hundreds of people have received this financial assistance over the years. The fund is totally dependent upon donations. To receive assistance or to support the Fund with a donation, please call Palliative & Supportive Care of Nantucket (PASCON) at 508 825-8325, visit, or email