New Hospice Facility Offers Help To Patients And Their Families

POSTED: Monday, July 11, 2011 - 4:35pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - 6:13pm

EL PASO- Hospice El Paso, the first and oldest hospice in the Sun City, has opened up its first-ever stand-alone in-patient facility.

It's a place where terminally-ill patients can receive care 24/7. The not-for-profit organization says the unit is going to make a huge difference in the lives of hospice patients and their families. And as they wait for their first patient to arrive, we received a tour of the "Center for Compassionate Care West".

The first thing you see when you enter the "Center for Compassionate Care West" is a warm and inviting living room.The 16-room facility, paid for through donations and grants, is the first stand-alone hospice in-patient unit in El Paso.

"Every big city in the state of Texas has one, has more than one. We are the only big city that has never had an in-patient unit, ever," said Hospice El Paso Director of Admissions & Marketing Tina-Marie "Tee" Hew Len.

The site where the Center for Compassionate Care is housed was once part of the Monte Vista at Coronado nursing home.

Hew Len and Jim Imai, the director of respiratory therapy, say the in-patient unit has many unique features.

"We're able to provide the care and equipment and the patient's need actually where normally a home would not be able to provide," said Imai.

The ideal place for a hospice patient is generally in their home; however, there are times when that is not possible. When symptoms require 24-hour care, the Center for Compassionate Care offers a short-term alternative for care.

"As hard a hospital tries, you're not going to be seen right away. You're not going to be tended to by a team of people. You're not going to be able to stay in the emergency room either," said  Hew Len.

At the Center for Compassionate Care, patients receive round-the-clock care.

"Here, you're assigned an entire team of people. You're assigned a social worker. You're assigned a certified nurse's assistant, someone who comes in and helps bathe our patient. You're assigned your own nurse, a registered nurse," said Hew Len.

There’s also a certified nurse’s assistant, bereavement coordinator, chaplain and volunteer service.
The in-patient center, which provides patients with the equipment and medication they need, takes Medicare, Medicaid and most insurances.

Another advantage is that your family is welcomed and encouraged to stay as long as they want, as opposed to hospitals where limited visitation hours are observed and the number of visitors are kept to a minimum.

"We did not want this place to feel institutional at all. We wanted them to feel as comfortable as possible and we wanted them to feel like they were in their second home away from home," says Hew Len.

The center has recliners and sofa sleepers for family members who are encouraged to spend the night.
And each room has a different look so patients and families have a choice.

"One room might look a little contemporary. Another one might look a little whimsical. One looks kind of traditional. I tried to pick colors and furniture and bedding to meet everybody's taste, not just one person," says Hew Len.

There's also a sunset patio where both patients and family members are welcomed to visit and get some fresh air.  All this, aimed to make that difficult time in a person's life more comfortable.

"What we want to do is make sure that we're treating not just the patient, but we're treating the family too. We're taking care of them as a unit,” said Hew Len.

If you'd like more information on the center for compassionate care west, they encourage you to contact them.
They're located at the Monte Vista at Coronado.  The address is 1575 Belvidere. Their number is 504-6320.

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