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Unexpected Uses of Hospice Care

December 31, 2016

In the year since we’ve opened the Palliative Care Inpatient Unit in conjunction with Cornerstone Hospice & Palliative Care, we’ve helped over 1,000 patients and their families.

Hospice is an important part of patient care because the reality is that we all may one day face decisions about how to care and provide comfort for a loved one with a life-limiting illness. Our goal with the inpatient unit is to support families throughout this process. We’ve been fortunate to do this and bring much-needed services to patients that previously would not have accessed this care.

Unexpected Uses of Hospice Care

When most people think of hospice care, they think of a sterile, hospital-like environment designed for patients with severe chronic conditions, including cancer, liver disease and other end-stage illnesses. Though the Cornerstone Hospice Inpatient Unit provides comfort and care to these patients, we’ve also provided services to patients transferring from the emergency room, burn unit as well as other highly acute areas of the hospital.

This highlights the advantages of the Cornerstone Hospice Care Center being located in a hospital setting — patients don’t have to be transferred to another facility or wait for services. We have the ability to immediately provide this much needed care to patients and their families during what could be an emotional time.

Our hospice care is different in that it mimics a home-like environment. Hospice care can be provided in a home, a facility or in the hospital setting. However, our unit seeks to make patients as comfortable as possible and the best way we can achieve this is by giving their surroundings a sense of warmth. The unit has 22 private rooms, each designed to feel like a bedroom as opposed to a traditional hospital room. Drapery softens the space, rooms have been fitted with  cabinets, book shelves, a refrigerator and end tables — things you’d expect in a house, not in a hospital room. Family members are encouraged to bring personal items, so the space feels even more like home for their loved one. 

Many people may not realize that hospice provides just as much support for families as it does for patients. It’s why each of the rooms was designed to have as much sleeping capacity as possible. The sofa converts into a bed, the recliner will lay flat and there is ample seating for family and guests. The Cornerstone Hospice Care Center is open to visitation 24-hour a day.

A reflection room is available to all on the unit and is home to a custom stained glass window that features butterflies, owls and other animals found in Florida’s nature. It’s a room where family members can reflect, pray, mediate or come back to center. It’s a place to feel safety and a sense of comfort. 

Nearly 1.7 million Americans received hospice care in 2014, according to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. This means that every year millions of families will have to make care decisions during the final stages of a loved one’s life.

Hospice makes this transition easier by providing comfort and support for patients and their families. Our goal is to deliver compassionate, quality-focused care that recognizes the dignity of every patient at the end of life. We look forward to continuing to fulfill this mission for years to come.

 

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