Inside a hospice care unit: comforts of home

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Diane Wayne

An inpatient hospice care center offers all the comforts of home, as well as the compassion and care that patients and families need during an especially challenging time. While most hospice patients prefer to be at home, a care center provides “a home away from home” when patients require more intensive symptom management and pain relief than they can receive at home or in a hospital. It’s also a place where a caregiver who needs a break can trust that a loved one will be in good hands.

 At Haven Hospice’s care centers, you’ll find beautiful indoor and outdoor spaces such as sunrooms and courtyards; cozy patient rooms; chapels for reflection; and playrooms to keep children occupied. The families Haven serves tell us how much these care centers mean to them.  One family member wrote, “You have the most beautiful and peaceful surroundings any family would want for their loved one.”  A young woman who was a child when her grandfather died in Haven’s care wrote: “The playroom became the place I ran to when my feelings became too much for me. I am so grateful for that.”

 Inpatient hospice care centers are actually rare both in Florida and nationwide. Only about 300 of the 4,600 U.S. hospice organizations operate freestanding hospice inpatient care centers. Haven’s four hospice care centers have been nationally recognized, and they’re strategically located throughout the state to be as accessible as possible. In Florida, care centers can only be built when the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) has approved them.  Last month, ACHA granted Haven Hospice a Certificate of Need to break ground on an 18-bed care center in the Clay County area. Hundreds of people throughout the community wrote letters of support for the project, knowing the difference a hospice care center can make for their family at the end of life.

 The patient’s care staff plays a large part in making the hospice care center feel like home. The staff is focused on making each patient comfortable, as well as providing needed support for families who are preparing to lose someone they love. Haven’s care centers offer a second home and a sense of community for everyone who enters.

 The Tri-Counties Hospice Care Center in Chiefland, with 12 beds, is like a second home for dedicated donor and volunteer Harry L. Coleman. Mr. Harry, as he’s known, does so much for patients, including buying personal care items they may have forgotten to bring and supplying daily newspapers for their families to read. He has adopted the care center family as his own. After her husband passed away in our care, Margaret Blagg donated a small organ people can play in the care center’s reception area. Every week, she stops by with homemade treats for the staff and plays the organ so that patients and their families can hear it.

 “At Haven, we believe that everyone deserves compassion, care and comfort, especially during life’s final journey,” said Haven Hospice President Tim Bowen.  “It’s an honor and a privilege to offer inpatient care centers to enhance the care we provide.”

  Diana Wayne, public relations coordinator with Haven Hospice, is responsible for public relations for the organization’s 18-county service area that serves Levy, Gilchrist and Dixie Counties and the Tri-Counties Care Center.