Frequently Asked Questions

The residents are people who have a terminal diagnosis and are within the final three months of their lives.  Each resident is under the medical care of a hospice agency, has a DNR, and has a prognosis of three months or less. He or she either does not have family who can be with them during this time, or his or her family is unable to care for him or her. This may be due to distance, finances, time, or the physical ability to assist. Our residents may have been homeless prior to living at the Heart of Mary House. Admission is based on need regardless of race, gender, religion, or age.

Studies have shown that people live longer than their prognosis once they are comfortable and have appropriate loving care. If a person stabilizes or improves, we will help him or her find a housing environment that is best suited to his or her current needs.  When a resident is accepted in the Heart of Mary House, the resident agrees to undergo a placement review at two months.

Our referrals come from multiple sources: Hospice agencies, physicians, hospitals, social workers, friends, and family. Admission into the Heart of Mary House is made after careful consideration by the Heart of Mary director under the supervision of the pastor of St. Edward.

Our mission is to embrace those who need a safe, comfortable, and peaceful home-like setting to spend their final days and to ensure all their needs are met, both physically and spiritually. Most importantly, we want our residents to know they were loved in their final days.

The residents are under the care of Hospice the day they are admitted into Heart of Mary House. Hospice provides all medical needs including medical equipment, personal care supplies, medications, and an intradisciplinary team including a physician, registered nurse, CNA, social worker, and chaplain.

The hospice nurse often sees the resident twice a week and if there is an emergent need, Hospice is available 24/7 by phone and can make a visit as needed. Heart of Mary House is not a medical facility; it is a home and provides care as a family member would for their loved one.

We are aligned with the teachings of the Catholic Church and follow the Healthcare Directives of the Catholic Church. More information on the Catholic Church directives can be found here.

Hospice is free! If you have insurance, the cost is paid at 100 percent. However, insurance does not pay for room and board costs. Nor does it offer 24-hour care.  At Heart of Mary House, residents will be served by Alive Hospice, which is a nonprofit and does not refuse hospice care to anyone, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay.

Since we are a non-profit, we rely completely on the time, talent, and treasure of our volunteers. Staff members will always be present and available to volunteers.

Since we are a non-profit, we rely completely on the time, talent, and treasure of our volunteers. Staff members will always be present and available to volunteers.

Time – Spend time with the residents by praying for them or with them, doing light cleaning, assisting with mealtime, providing hands-on care, and companionship. No amount of time is too little. You can give an hour once, a reoccurring hour, or a dedicated block of time. To volunteer, visit

Talent – Talents cover a wide range of needs. Volunteers can clean, sing, play musical instruments, cook a meal, make blankets, do laundry, pray for our residents, provide games and reading material, garden, and even contribute to a snack basket for residents and volunteers.

Treasure – Donations can be made online at or checks may be mailed to St. Edward Church, 188 Thompson Lane, Nashville, TN 37211. In the memo line, write “Heart of Mary House.”

Or you can purchase an item off our Amazon Wish list. New items are added as needs arise.

Yes, training will be provided at the beginning of your first shift. Eventually, training will be held monthly for all new volunteers.

Yes, we love having high school students serve our residents, but anyone under 18 will need to be accompanied by an adult.

Heart of Mary House will function separately from the school, and the students will not generally have any direct interaction with it. With parental consent, students may have the opportunity to participate in the ministry as a way of learning about service to the poor and care of the sick, in accord with our Lord’s admonition in Matthew 25:40, “Amen, I say to you, what you did for the least of my brethren you did for me.”  
Additionally, teachers will be given preparation and instruction on how to talk about the ministry with their students in the event that questions arise among them. 

FAQ for Clinicians

No, Heart of Mary House (HOM) is a home. The residents of the HOM are seen as our brothers or sisters, mothers or fathers, and friends that we have been called to serve for the final weeks of their life.

HOM seeks to serve those in need who have a terminal prognosis.

The patient and their family are not asked to pay anything in order to stay at HOM. We are a non-profit and operate via donations and volunteers.

In order for a person to be accepted into HOM, they must have a prognosis of 3 months or less, have a DNR, and be under the care (or plan to be on admission to the house) of hospice.

No, HOM serves people who are in need. “Need” is variable and can be defined in many different ways. We have a preferential option to serve the poor and underprivileged.

No, we do not conduct a financial assessment. We trust that those involved are correct in stating that the patient has a presumed need.

No, we do not accept payment upfront. HOM is not a for-profit entity. We do, however, accept donations in remembrance of our past residents.

At this time, we accept foley catheters and pain pumps. Feeding tubes may be considered in the future for our residents.

A referral is made by calling or emailing the director, Kim Derrick, RN at 615-504-8542/ An initial assessment takes place when the referral assessment form (Attached here) is completed and returned to the director at HOM. After the initial review is completed, a physical assessment will be completed by the director and a meeting with family/MPOA/surrogate will be conducted.

Once accepted, hospice arranges for transportation to HOM and admission into hospice takes place following arrival. Just the same as a home admission is arranged; all equipment is delivered prior to arrival and once admitted, medications, supplies, etc… are ordered.