Monday, July 29, 2013
New Alexian Brothers Hospice Residence Offers Advanced, Holistic Care At End Of Life
NEW ALEXIAN BROTHERS HOSPICE RESIDENCE OFFERS ADVANCED, HOLISTIC CARE AT END OF LIFE
(Elk Grove Village, IL) - Alexian Brothers Health System (ABHS) has unveiled a $7.5 million hospice residence that combines advanced medical capabilities and a homelike environment to provide holistic care for patients in the final stages of life. Located across the street from Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village, Ill., Alexian Brothers Hospice Residence is the only faith-based hospice facility in the Chicago area.
The one-level facility, which features 16 large private rooms and a wide range of amenities, officially opened its doors July 29 following a series of grand-opening events, including a blessing and dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony July 19. “The work that has brought the Alexian Brothers Hospice Residence to completion should enliven our faith and make us grateful,” said the Most Reverend George J. Rassas, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago, who blessed and dedicated the facility.
“Whenever we look to the interests of our neighbor or the community and serve them, we are in a very real sense God’s own co-workers.” The hospice residence has been designed to provide three levels of care, including: 1) General inpatient care, which is short-term, intensive medical care for a sudden exacerbation of pain or other symptoms. 2) Respite care, which gives family caregivers a break for up to five days. 3) Residential care, which is for patients who would prefer the option of living at the hospice residence because they are too frail to live at home and/or because loved ones are unable to care for them. Ensuring comfort and privacy for patients and their families was a top priority for the Alexian Brothers and ABHS officials as they developed plans for the hospice residence, said Kathleen Gunderson, ABHS Vice President, Ancillary Services. “We wanted to be certain that we had a very patient-centered model for this facility,” she said.
“We wanted to make the end-of-life experience as warm, supportive and spiritual as we possibly could.” The result is a facility in which each patient room has individual climate controls, a tray ceiling with indirect lighting, bedside sconces for reading, sleeping accommodations for multiple family members, an oversized patient bed to allow room for a family member or a pet, built-in shelving for displaying photos and other personal items, a bathroom with a shower, and a 55-inch LED television. The rooms also feature windows on at least two sides to admit as much natural light as possible. The windows can be opened to let in fresh air and have safety stops for security. The windows have been positioned low enough to give patients outdoor views from their beds.
“There has been a significant amount of landscaping done, so the views are very nice,” Gunderson said. To maximize privacy for patients, all rooms have been designed so that patients cannot be seen from the hallway when the door to their room is open. The facility has two unobtrusive nursing stations and two state-of-the-art medication rooms. It is equipped with a wireless call system so patients can contact staff, even when patients leave their rooms. The facility features two bathing spas, each with a whirlpool tub designed so that a patient can be moved comfortably in a seated position into the tub. There also is a massage room where massages and hair styling will be available. Other amenities include a library with a fireplace, a family lounge with a piano, a recreation room, a family kitchen, a chapel, a family laundry area and three furnished patios. The residence has its own pastoral-care team, with a chaplain-to-resident ratio significantly higher than the national hospice standard.
The facility also features artwork in patient rooms and common areas to provide a calming effect for patients and families. “The whole concept is to provide a calming atmosphere,” Gunderson said. “We’ll also be using a lot of alternative therapies, such as massage, art, music and pet therapy, to make those last days or months more bearable for the patient and their family. It goes back to the tradition and values of the Alexian Brothers in caring for the dying (during the Black Death of the Middle Ages) and the dignity of the person and care of the whole person. That’s where we are going with this.”
About Alexian Brothers Health System
Ranked among the nation’s best-performing health systems, the Alexian Brothers Health System (ABHS), part of St. Louis-based Ascension Health, is comprised of five hospitals and a center for mental health; immediate care centers, diagnostic imaging facilities, occupational health centers and a physician practice group that serves more than two million people every year in Chicago’s suburbs. ABHS also has an enduring commitment to identifying and developing an effective response to the unique health and housing needs of older adults through a dynamic senior ministries program that operates an array of residential, retirement and community resources in Missouri, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. For more information visit: www.alexianbrothershealth.org