Pensacola, Fla.-based hospice and home health provider Covenant Care, a nonprofit, has opened a new inpatient Center for Hospice Care at West Florida Hospital, also in Pensacola. The hospital contracts Covenant to provide hospice care to their patients suffering from terminal illness.
The hospice moved its operations to the new 7,1000-square-foot space from a previous third-floor unit in the hospital. The new facilities feature 11 rooms with 13 beds, space for family visits and counseling, a private courtyard, meditation area and community gathering space.
“We had the third floor unit for 14 years; with this new area we can re-envision our entire space from a blank slate and really create a nice, home-like space to help folks who are in their last months, weeks and days get the most out of the time they have left,” Jeff Rogers, director of marketing and communications for Covenant Care told Hospice News. “Each room is decorated differently and has unique murals that kind of bring the local area to life. We are a beach town, so there are photographic murals showing ocean scenes and coastal scenes that have a serene feel to them.”
Covenant modeled the unit after its inpatient facility at Sacred Heart Health Care, also located in Pensacola. Each room is lined with benches to accommodate several family members. The center’s courtyard contains tables, a number of plants and 100-year-old oak trees. Construction lasted 18 months.
“The families can spend time in the courtyard and kind of catch their breath,” Rogers said. “It’s a neat way to look at hospice care. It’s different. There were a lot of finishing touches, because we wanted to make sure everything was just right before we brought the patients in.”
The unit’s family area includes seating, a kitchen where families can bring or prepare food, and a children’s play area.
Nurses stations include new computers and new technology such as sensors and touchpads that monitor oxygen supplies.
Hospices provide general inpatient care when a patient’s pain or other symptoms cannot be managed in any other setting, according to the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO). Hospices can provide inpatient care in a Medicare-certified hospital, a freestanding hospice inpatient facility or a nursing facility that has registered nurses available 24 hours a day.
General inpatient care is one of four levels of hospice care, which also include routine home care, inpatient respite care and continuous home care. In 2017, 1.3% of hospice care days nationwide involved general inpatient care. In 2017, 0.3% of patients recieved hospice in an acute-care hospital, according to NHPCO.
“We’ve tried to build in all the comforts of home at a time when you can’t be home,” Rogers said. “Our dedicated team will continue to provide round-the-clock hospice and palliative care that embraces the whole family.”