Debbie Fultz, RN (left) with patient Cindy WIlliams.
For the first time, Alive Hospice is partnering with a hospital facility to create an onsite care unit.
The hospice provider recently opened a 16-bed unit at Saint Thomas Hospital that Jan Jones, president and CEO of Alive Hospice, describes as "acute palliative care."
Jones says services include intense symptom management, additional support for patients near the end of their lives and for their families, as well as more in-depth training for patients and families that will be returning to a home setting.
"It helps them go home with a level of comfort they wouldn't otherwise have," Jones says of the latter category.
Alive Hospice actually leases the space from the hospital and staffs it with their own providers including a full-time physician, registered nurses, a full-time chaplain and a social worker in addition to care partners that assist patients with their personal care needs.
The space, which was once used for obstetrics, was ideal to convert to a hospice unit because it already featured homey touches and larger rooms.
"It's really kind of a nice thing to think of philosophically because that space represents the whole circle of life," Jones points out.
The homelike environment includes carpeted floors, sconce lighting, a large family room, a kitchen for family members to utilize and a meditation space.
"It's very peaceful … it's very warm and inviting," Jones notes.
She says that while Alive Hospice has agreements with hospitals in all of Middle Tennessee, staff is typically there on an intermittent basis. She adds that Alive would be willing to replicate this on-site model down the road in other facilities if this unit proves to be as effective as expected.