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Published on May 17, 2016

Hospice Home Celebrates 10th Anniversary

The Spartanburg Regional Hospice Home celebrates its 10 year anniversary in 2016.

The remarkable house, built specifically to serve patients at the end of their lives, is the Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System's (SRHS) Hospice Home, a comfortable and comforting place whose origin is as special as its mission.

“Ten years ago, leaders in our community understood how important it was that our community had a comfortable place to be cared for at the end of life,” said Kristy Caradori, Spartanburg Regional Foundation Executive Director. “It's called the House That Spartanburg Built because the community opened their hearts for this need.”

The Foundation was challenged to raise the funds to build it, with a promise that SRHS would operate the home. Fundraising gears ground into action, the community responded with generosity, and the Foundation managed to exceed its goal of $5 million, raising $6.3 million.

Ten years later, the Spartanburg Regional Hospice Home has served 2,865 patients to date, with an average of 300 admissions per year, and has earned a reputation for sensitive and quality care for patients and families at a difficult time. With teamwork from trained hospice professionals, including physicians, registered nurses, nursing assistants, chaplains, social workers, and volunteers, both patients and their families receive the same compassionate treatment.

“When we care for a patient, we create a continuum of care for the whole person: mind, body, and spirit. We create a relationship with the patient and their family,” said Kim Ross, Director of Regional Hospice and Palliative Care.

Patients and families are asked about their care goals and how the patient would like to live the rest of his or her life. These end-of-life discussions are crucial and should be held as early as possible to make them less painful.

All efforts are made to create a home-like atmosphere at the hospice home, with rooms spacious enough to accommodate family members, and patio doors large enough to move the patient's bed outside. A chapel, a fountain, and beautiful outdoor gardens offer peaceful places for prayer and healing.

“Some of the special touches include pet visits,” said Deb Strevel, RN. “For most people, pets are as much of a part of the family as anyone else. The patients really light up when they see their pets.”

A common area in the cafeteria is available for families to gather for beverages.

“It's incredible to see how the families of different patients bond and come together. They share their stories and comfort new families,” Strevel said. “The most magical thing I see is how the families bond.”

The Spartanburg Regional Hospice Home benefits from Spartanburg Regional Foundation’s Hospice Special Needs Fund, which allows patients and relatives to create family memories with celebrations of anniversaries, weddings and funerals. Within the hospice home, the fund bought the piano in the lobby, available for playing for pleasure as well as for ceremonial use, was purchased through the Special Needs Fund, but it also plays a central part in a ceremony that honors deceased loved ones. A song chosen by the family is played, and the deceased loved one is taken out the front door, followed by the family, and honored by staff who stand in respectful silence.

“I can't put into words how powerful it is,” Ross said. “It's a really special moment. Bereavement follow-up offers grief support to patients and families for the next 13 months. Services provided include; Remembrance Ceremonies, individual counseling, group counseling, and community bereavement events.”

“We celebrate the 4th of July, and it has become huge,” Strevel said of the holiday celebration started in 2007. “Realizing that the holiday may be the last holiday the family celebrates together changes the outlook and meaning for all of us. It reminds of how precious life is and to appreciate each and every day we have together."

The hospice home offers palliative care at the end of life, but also cares for the care-givers with respite services.
“A patient can be brought to the hospice home for care to provide a break for the primary caregiver,” Ross said. “Often the caregiver doesn’t realize how badly they need relief until the respite stay is initiated. A respite stay allows caregivers to renew themselves, while knowing that their family member is comfortable and safe.”

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