Mary Ann Boccolini

Providing compassionate expertise when it’s needed most

For Mary Ann Boccolini, it has always been personal. “It really started with my mom,” she says. “She was diagnosed with cancer when I was 13 and died when I was 15. There was no hospice then. My dad was a devoted husband, but he had to work. I was the only one caring for my mom a lot of the time.”

Mary Ann Boccolini President & CEO, Samaritan

Boccolini, who has spent more than 2 decades at the helm of Samaritan, the largest hospice care and palliative medicine provider in New Jersey, says her desire to help others was planted then, when she was just a teenager.

“When my mom was in the hospital, you weren’t allowed to stay overnight,” she says, but her mother’s nurses found a way to sneak Boccolini in for sleepovers. “They gave me little chores to do that made me feel I was doing something. It helped me see how, through nursing, you could really make a difference.” After graduating high school, Boccolini went on to become a registered nurse, working at several different locations before landing at Samaritan.

Boccolini brings her desire to help others to Samaritan, a community-based, not-for-profit healthcare provider that provides high quality care and comfort to people as they age and/or become seriously ill. Samaritan also supports that person’s family members who often take on the challenging roles as caregivers.

“It’s one thing when you’re providing the care for a loved one who is recovering,” Boccolini says. “But when recovery is not possible, the transition from this world brings a whole other dimension to the support people need. Caregivers often think they should be doing more. They need that emotional support from us to say, ‘Hey, you’re doing a great job.’ At Samaritan, the family caregivers are just as important to us as our patients.”

“I believe we’re guided to where we’re meant to be – to live our purpose, to be the most impactful, to learn. My journey has all been for this purpose: to care for people and help them care for others.”

As Samaritan’s leader, Boccolini has been focused on changing the narrative around hospice care, and helping people to embrace, rather than fear, these vital services.

“People have a tendency to access hospice very late,” she says. “Often, we hear from families: ‘I wish I would have called you sooner.’”

To help people earlier, Samaritan launched a palliative medicine practice in 2009 to care for people who are living with serious illness and need an extra layer of support. Palliative medicine helps manage symptoms and relieve pain while helping family caregivers feel safe and supported.

More recently, Samaritan added primary care at home to expand its life-enhancing care options. Dr. Ken Giacobbo of HomeVisit Physicians, and his team, provide a full range of primary care services to those who are homebound and need help managing a chronic condition.

With multiple services available, you may not know exactly what your loved one needs, and that’s okay. “We encourage people to speak with one of our Access Center nurses to learn how we can help with their loved one’s unique healthcare needs,” says Boccolini.

Boccolini’s leadership has played a major role in building Samaritan’s reputation in the region. She attributes it to the expertise and compassion of her team and prides herself on her ability to guide them.

“It’s my job to inspire my team,” she says. “Inspire them to be their authentic selves. To embrace the fact that they were given gifts of compassion and healing. To help them acknowledge the light in themselves. If they can do that, the way they care for others will be beautiful.”

Samaritan Now Offering Advanced Cardiac Care

Exclusive NJ Provider

Samaritan, in collaboration with the American Heart Association (AHA) and the National Partnership for Healthcare and Hospice Innovation (NPHI), is proud to offer an Advanced Cardiac Care (ACC) Program to address the leading cause of death in the U.S. – heart disease. The innovative program provides patients with high quality, coordinated, and holistic care in the comfort of home from an expert team of medical professionals, including a physician, nurse, social worker, certified home health aide, and spiritual support counselor. Samaritan works with the patient’s medical team and family caregivers to ensure patient-centered care, better outcomes, and improved quality of life. | 800-229-8183