Florida-based Big Bend Hospice has unveiled a new inpatient hospice unit on the third floor of Tallahassee Memorial Hospital (TMH).
Dubbed the First Commerce Center for Compassionate Care, the unit is designed to expand end-of-life services to a mostly rural eight-county service area in Florida, where Big Bend has operated for more than 40 years. The center is named for the First Commerce Credit Union, which helped finance its development through philanthropic donations.
“Most Americans want to spend their last moments at home, surrounded by their loved ones,” said Dr. Deborah Morris, chief medical officer for Big Bend Hospice, said in a statement. “When that isn’t possible, Big Bend Hospice’s inpatient units provide an at-home feeling along with specialized end-of-life care that often exceeds a family’s caregiving capability.”
The unit includes eight patient rooms decorated to emulate a home-like environment. It also features a reflection room, communal kitchen and spaces for family gatherings.
This is Big Bend’s second inpatient unit in the region, following its 12-bed Margaret Z. Dozier House, which opened in 2000. With these two centers, Big Bend is the only operator of inpatient hospice care in the eight counties it serves.
Adults 65 and older represent 17.5% of the population in Broward County, Florida, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Statewide, 6.7 million Floridians will fall into this age group by 2030, a 52.1% spike from 4.4 million currently, a report from Florida TaxWatch projected.
Hospice utilization in the Sunshine State runs high. More than 154,500 people received hospice in Florida in 2021, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The state fell second only to California that year, where around 156,000 individuals utilized hospice, CMS reported
“Hospice uniquely meets the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of patients and families facing a life-limiting illness,” said Big Bend Hospice CEO Bill Wertman in a statement. “We’re excited to expand our services directly into TMH where we can meet patients and families where they are.”