New York-based United Health Services (UHS) Binghamton General Hospital has opened a new palliative care unit.
The new unit is intended to expand access among patients in need of both community- and facility-based palliative care.
These individuals’ often have a host of physical, mental and psychosocial needs that palliative care services can help support – a main reason for bridging care gaps with the unit’s establishment, according to Kris Marks, administrative director of palliative care at UHS Hospitals.
“This unit aims to meet the physical and psychosocial needs of patients receiving comfort-focused, end-of-life care,” Marks said in a statement. “Patients are provided with symptom management and emotional support in a calm, compassionate environment. Their loved ones are welcome on the unit and are offered appropriate resources and emotional support as well.”
The new unit is designed for individuals whose symptoms and needs cannot be addressed effectively in the home setting.
Patients in the unit will receive routine visits from physicians, nurse practitioners and social workers that specialize in palliative medicine, according to the hospital. Additionally, the health system’s hospitalist service, nurses and other end-of-life care health professionals will remain involved in patients’ interdisciplinary care.
The hospital began admitting palliative patients to the facility on August 1. It features six palliative patient beds and respite areas for families. The palliative facility is open to patients of both the UHS Binghamton General Hospice and the UHS Wilson Medical Center.
An additional goal for the new unit is to create more seamless care transitions into hospice. Patients transitioning from the hospital into home- or facility-based hospice are also eligible to receive care in the unit.
UHS Binghamton General Hospital provides surgical and wound care services, general medical clinic services, rehabilitative therapy, and behavioral health and emergency care. The hospitals’ service regions spans across south central New York.
Demographics are swelling demand for both serious illness and end-of-life care in Binghamton, New York. Seniors 65 and older represent 16% of the city’s overall population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.