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

Help Your Island Neighbors

It is not uncommon that our family, friends and neighbors often need to travel off-island for medical care. To lessen the burden, Nantucket Cottage Hospital created and has managed travel funds since the 1980s to help reduce the high costs of travel.

Simply put, for over 20 years these funds have helped countless Nantucketers get to their medical appointments off-island. The funds help sick children, patients with cancer, low income individuals and everyone in between. The NCH Social Services Department has also been addressing many other issues — often financial in nature — such as being unable to afford medications.

Maintaining the viability of these funds isn’t easy, because they are sustained entirely by donations or fundraisers. NCH wants to continue to provide what has become an essential service to our community. Please consider a donation to help your fellow Nantucketers. 100% of all money raised goes to help those in need.

Click Here to Donate

  • The Andrew Holdgate Fund is used to assist with transportation expenses when it is necessary for a child to receive medical care off island.
  • The Indigent Fund is a discretionary fund under the guidance and supervision of the Social Services Department of NCH. Some uses have included paying for medications, transportation, groceries, rent, and utilities.
  • The Shorty Fund is used to assist patients who have medical appointments off island and qualify financially.
  • The Sailing Stork Fund is available to assist with the travel & lodging expenses of any Nantucket expectant mother who has been informed by Nantucket Cottage Hospital and/or their physician that their delivery will need to take place off island. This also includes those that find themselves in emergency labor & delivery situations.