helping to improve quality of life for  hearing impaired hospice patients


A Care Dimensions volunteer uses a Pocket Talker to engage with a patient who had become isolated and was in decline due to his hearing loss.


Among the more than $385,000 in grants Parmenter awarded so far in 2021 is funding to Care Dimensions for 23 Pocket Talker hearing amplification devices to support 70+ MetroWest, hearing impaired hospice patients each year. A nonprofit, community-based leader in advanced illness care, Care Dimensions provides comprehensive hospice, palliative care and grief support to patients wherever they live, including at its Hospice House in Lincoln, MA.

Hearing loss is common among the elderly and often leads unnecessarily to isolation, depression and lack of active participation in one’s care plan. Communication and support of patient wishes are at the heart of the hospice philosophy. Being able to actively engage in clinical or care plan discussions and life resolution matters is critical to a positive end-of-life experience for both patients and their loved ones. The employment of Pocket Talker hearing amplification devices in a hospice setting can help ensure peace and resolution for patients during their end-of-life journeys. Pocket Talkers can even be used along with hearing aids to further improve hearing and communication.

Hospice and palliative care physician, James Peterson, MD, HMDC, is the Pocket Talker “champion” at Care Dimensions MetroWest. Dr. Peterson has extensive experience in end-of-life care and has used Pocket Talkers for years to aid in the treatment of his elderly patients. The devices help his patients to re-engage in their medical care plans and reduce the isolation and depression that often accompany hearing loss.

“For some patients, hearing loss can limit or prevent the important conversations approaching end-of-life, impacting their quality of life. These patients will benefit – sometimes dramatically – from this simple intervention,” says Dr. Peterson.

Pocket Talkers not only allow hospice patients to be more involved in their care but also enable them to be more present in conversations and make new memories with loved ones; joyous experiences during a time of such difficulty. The immense, meaningful impact of something as “small” as a hearing device is immeasurable to those enmeshed in the challenges of hospice and palliative care.