Hospice in Place supports compassionate end-of-life care

By: Alina Avalos

A patient’s dying wish was to stand up and dance with each family member. With the support and collaboration of the UF Health Palliative Care team and Haven Hospice, the patient was able to do so in the hospital during his final days.

“Treating patients who are at the end of life is a highly specialized type of medical care, called palliative care,” said Sharon Gavin, M.D., UF College of Medicine palliative care interim director. “It involves a team effort. And the goal of end-of-life care is to provide the longest and most comfortable life possible that allows the patient to spend time in ways that are important to him or her.”

These patients have the opportunity to receive hospice at home, go to a hospice center such as Haven Hospice, or now, because of a recently implemented Hospice in Place process, remain here at their convenience.

“It took an entire team of engaged and committed nurses, physicians, residents, pharmacists, social workers, quality specialists, management engineers, IT staff and others to create and implement the Hospice in Place process,” said Jacqueline Baron-Lee, Ph.D., UF Health Neuromedicine Quality Improvement director.

Baron-Lee led a team of staff and clinicians through the creation process and to pilot the implementation of the Hospice in Place program at UF Health Shands Hospital.

“Before the formal Hospice in Place program, patients received comfort care at the end of their lives,” she said. “Now, the Hospice in Place program allows patients to receive the benefit of hospice when they need to remain at our facilities for palliative care.”

The Hospice in Place program provides the extra layer of more specialized care, bereavement support and a team effort of doctors, nurses and hospice social workers for the patient’s best possible experience.

Rhea Broyles, M.S.N., R.N., UF Health Sebastian Ferrero Office of Clinical Quality and Patient Safety senior quality improvement specialist, said the program not only enhances the experience for the patients receiving our hospice care, but also their family’s experience.

“Hospice in Place provides bereavement support to the family, which improves patient and family satisfaction at a very emotional and difficult time,” she said. “It helps us ensure the most compassionate and supportive response to their needs, to ease them through.”

The program helps the patient achieve a sense of meaning for his or her life, and the patient’s family to view the experience as a natural part of the life cycle, while gaining closure.

Gavin said, “End of life care can be a very beautiful and meaningful thing in the patient and family’s experience.”