Hospice is a philosophy of care for patients facing the end of life. It focuses on pain and symptom management, as well as the emotional and spiritual needs of patients. Hospice offers medical care, comfort and support to improve quality of life for people whose illness is unlikely to be cured. This care can be described as the embrace of a loved one or the sense of calm felt when you know you are home. Traditionally, hospice care has been provided in the patient’s home, in the hospital, or in a nursing home facility. Through hospice, patients are able to live their last days with dignity and comfort.
Hospice is not about giving up, but rather about making the most of every moment.
Every patient and family has unique circumstances. The hospice house will complement BJC Hospice’s full range of hospice care and provides an additional layer of care. The hospice house is designed to offer patients and families an alternative choice in special circumstances, such as short-term pain and symptom management, respite for caregivers, or when care in the family home is not feasible.
The focus in a hospice house is entirely on the patient and family in a quiet, home-like setting with care team members who are trained specifically in hospice. It’s a warm place for the patient and family to spend time together without outside distractions, while being supported by a compassionate, expert team.
A hospice house gives hospice care a home.
As the population ages, the demand for hospice and palliative care will increase. That care will become increasingly complex as more people are faced with long-term chronic diseases. Currently, the St. Louis area only has one hospice house with 18 beds located in south St. Louis County to serve a population of 2.8 million. Clearly, the demand is much greater than the supply. By comparison, Kansas City has 76 beds to serve 2.3 million people, while Cleveland has 208 hospice beds to serve 2.1 million.
With a new hospice house centrally located in west St. Louis County, we will be able to fill a vital need in specialty, end-of-life care and expertise for adults, teens and children for the entire St. Louis area. Today, St. Louis doesn’t have any hospice beds to meet the special needs of children. Our community will be better for having a hospice house.
The hospice house, being built by BJC HealthCare with the support of generous donors, will be an 18,000-square-foot, ranch-style facility located on the campus of Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital in Creve Coeur, Missouri. It is scheduled to open in early 2017. The 16 private suites for adults, teens and children will open to a patio and beautiful, natural surroundings with a walking path, gazebo and playground area.
The highly trained care team in the hospice house includes compassionate, certified hospice and palliative care nurses who provide specialized care in pain and symptom management and other end-of-life issues. The hospice team also offers support to families so they can make the most of every moment together. Patrick White, MD, the chief medical officer for BJC Hospice, will lead the hospice house care team.
In addition, the hospice house will include dedicated music and art therapy rooms, a library, hydrotherapy, a salon, a gathering room with fireplace, a family kitchen and dining rooms, a chapel/meditation room, and a garden. We also will give special recognition to veterans we care for. For young patients or visitors with special needs, the hospice house grounds will include an Ability House, a beehive-shaped, accessible playhouse with interactive activities for children.
Patients with a range of conditions can benefit from hospice care, including those in the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and other diseases. The hospice house is for any adults and children who need the comfort and support of end-of-life care.
Hospice care, whether at home or in the hospice house, is generally reimbursed through Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance.