The new Dr. Ruth McLain Hospice Home honors the Canton physician who is a pioneer in compassionate care and the founder of Old Colony Hospice & Palliative Care.
“As our founder and medical director, Dr. McLain is the heart and soul of Old Colony Hospice. She was an early leader of the hospice movement and her work has brought comfort to literally thousands of people,” said Toni Eaton, President and CEO of Old Colony Hospice, which operates the home. “Dr. McLain is an inspiration and we’re thrilled that the home carries her name.”
Forty years ago, Dr. McLain launched Old Colony Hospice from a one-room office tucked away in the lower level of New England Sinai Hospital in Stoughton. Since then, the hospice movement has taken root across Massachusetts and the nation, and Old Colony Hospice has grown into an award-winning organization with more than 100 employees supporting thousands of families every year who wish to help their loved ones die in the comfort of their own homes.
With the opening in 2020 of the hospice home at 670 Washington Street, Braintree, Dr. McLain’s vision to provide high-quality, compassionate end-of-life care continues to expand.
While a growing number of people are choosing to spend their last days at home with hospice care, surrounded by family and friends rather than in a hospital setting, some families are unable to offer that extensive end-of-life care.
“Some families may not be able to provide the care at home—perhaps they are far away, or working, or an elderly spouse cannot provide care—but they want their loved ones to be comfortable and cared for in a homelike setting,” Dr. McLain said. “There’s a gap in care.”
The Dr. Ruth McLain home answers that need. One of the first homes of its kind in the region, the six-bedroom hospice home is the most recent addition to Old Colony Hospice & Palliative Care’s services.
“I’m so honored to be recognized in this meaningful way,” said Dr. McLain, who received her bachelor of arts and her medical doctorate from the University of Missouri, Columbia. “This home is a milestone in the hospice community. I’m so grateful to be part of this new chapter.”
Dr. McLain, 74, founded Old Colony Hospice in 1979. As part of an overall health initiative to improve healthcare for cancer patients south of Boston, she headed up the end-of-life portion of the project. She later left her private oncology practice in Brockton to oversee Old Colony Hospice, which is now based in West Bridgewater and serves more than 55 communities from Plymouth and Quincy to Attleboro and Taunton.
Dr. McLain did her internship and residency at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford and then a fellowship at Tuft-New England Medical Center in Boston.