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Sentara Hospice House To Meet Community Demand For End-of-Life Care 

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Groundbreaking ceremony marks Sentara’s ongoing commitment to providing the right care, at the right time, in the right place

Virginia Beach, VA (May 17, 2012) -- Sentara Healthcare will continue its longstanding commitment to the people of southeastern Virginia as it breaks ground on the Sentara Hospice House on Friday, May 18 at 9 a.m. Located at 3751 Sentara Way, Virginia Beach, Sentara Hospice House, an 8,311-square-foot facility, will open by January 2013 and provide 24-hour care with a staff of 14 and trained volunteers.

“We’ve always sensed a need for this type of end-of-life care,” said Raymond Darcey, president, Sentara Enterprises, “and in 2009 our feeling was confirmed when we commissioned an outside consultant to study patients’ end-of-life concerns in our community. Many wish to spend their last days at home, but that is not always possible. With only five live-in hospices in all of Virginia and none in South Hampton Roads, patients were not often able to choose the next-best alternative. Because Virginia lifted its three-year moratorium on hospice construction last spring, we can finally get started on meeting these patients’ needs.”

Individuals with advanced, progressive and incurable diseases and their families turn to hospices for palliative care – care that focuses on symptom management, pain control and overall physical and emotional comfort. Sentara’s goal is to assist patients and their loved ones by offering the same full range of inpatient hospice services currently offered in the hospital, such as nursing services, social work and bereavement guidance, and volunteer services, as well as information and resources, so that the families can make the choices that are right for them. The hospice staff will serve as advocates to empower patients to live the remainder of their days fully and with dignity.

With those objectives in mind, Hospice House staff members will provide care for up to 12 people and their families. Private rooms featuring state-of-the-art Telehealth technology will be available. A two-way audiovisual system, Telehealth will make it possible for patients to interact with the medical director, who cannot be at their bedside at all times. Patients’ vitals can also be easily and less-intrusively tracked, and guidance and reassurance can be given virtually through the system. Telehealth has significantly reduced hospital readmissions and emergency room visits as it has been used by patients recovering at home and those needing ongoing medical attention for chronic diseases.

Families and loved ones are always welcome at the Hospice House and can rest during the day or evening in specially designated rooms. The Hospice House will also feature a family kitchen, a chapel, a grieving room, and an outdoor sitting area for everyone’s comfort.

“We want to create a home-like setting to support the patient and their family caregivers,” said John Patterson, M.D, medical director, Sentara Hospice Services. “An environment like that makes it possible for us to give them the most important thing of all: peace of mind.”

Individuals and community groups are invited to be part of establishing this ideal care center by becoming Hospice House volunteers and donating funds for the ongoing beautification of the home and grounds. Sentara Healthcare Foundation will coordinate fundraising efforts in hopes of adding amenities such as a piano, stained glass in the chapel, an aquarium, an outdoor gazebo, and a landscaped garden with a pond.

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