VITAS Healthcare—the largest provider of hospice care in the United States— on Feb. 6 opened a 13,000-square-foot inpatient hospice unit at Methodist Dallas Medical Center.
The new facility enables VITAS to treat hospice patients whose symptoms have become unmanageable in the home care setting. The unit will begin accepting referrals by the end of February and expects to treat as many as 800 patients annually in the new facility.
“Patients and families in the Dallas/Fort Worth southern sector will benefit greatly by having access to the specialized level of hospice care provided in this state-of-the-art unit,” said Marilyn Conley, general manager of VITAS Healthcare of Dallas. “Our team looks forward to providing the unique hospice and palliative care our patients deserve in a setting that has all the comforts of home.”
VITAS undertook a $2.8 million renovation on the fifth floor of the medical center’s Schenkel Tower to construct the unit. The unit features 16 private patient rooms as well as two family areas, a kitchen, a children’s room, and overnight accommodations for patients’ families.
Interdisciplinary care teams also have access to support spaces where physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, and other staff can address the medical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs of patients and their families.
The VITAS inpatient care model includes round-the-clock care as well as daily hospice physician visits. In addition medical treatment, the facility will provide services such as massage therapy, music therapy, pet visits, a veterans’ program, and memory bears, as well as access to a full-time child life specialist and full-time respiratory therapist. A memory bear is a stuffed animal keepsake made from clothing or other fabric belonging to the patient.
“We are proud to have this level of care available to patients and families not only in Dallas, but across the [Dallas-Fort Worth] area as well. We are equally proud that VITAS has chosen Methodist Dallas as its location to provide this vital service,” said John Phillips, president of Methodist Dallas Medical Center.
The Methodist Dallas location is VITAS’ third inpatient hospice in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area.