Touching Lives at the End of Life’s Journey
2810 S. Deborah Drive
From a dream many years in the making – to a $3million fundraising campaign that officially began in 2010 – to a groundbreaking that occurred in November of that same year – all leading to this moment: a Hospice House for the people of south central Indiana.
The Hospice House, a Bloomington Hospital Foundation project, was supported by donations small and large – from $25 to $250,000 and every amount in between. Some gave because it was a worthy cause. Some gave as a way to say “thank you” for past hospice care received. And, some gave in memory of friends and loved ones.
The impact of hospice goes far beyond meeting the daily needs of patients and their families. Hospice helps patients nurture relationships and focus on living rather than dying. Hospice helps patients realize that they are living up until the moment they die – and they should therefore strive for the highest quality of life possible.
Hospice is sometimes called the “last resort” or described as the care received when there is “nothing left” to do. But hospice is actually the “something more” that can be done for patients and their families. It is a concept based on comfort-oriented care.
Indiana University Health Bloomington’s hospice program has been providing “something more” through compassionate care since 1979. We have now added the next essential piece: a stand-alone facility for hospice patients and their families. A Hospice House.
A History of Comfort and Compassion
For more than 30 years, IU Health Bloomington’s hospice staff and volunteers have lovingly cared for more than 7,400 patients with life-limiting illness.
Growing from an all-volunteer hospice program with nine volunteers founded by local physician Dr. Anthony Pizzo, the IU Health Bloomington Hospice is now a fully-accredited hospice program with a staff of 45 and as many as 80 volunteers. Hospice aides, social workers, nurses, bereavement counselors, chaplains, managers, administrative support staff and community volunteers make approximately 14,500 visits per year.
Currently serving Monroe, Brown, Lawrence, Greene, Owen and Morgan counties, IU Health Bloomington Hospice provides non-aggressive comfort care – called palliative care – for patients in their home, the hospital, a nursing facility or Hospice House.
Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, hospice staff members and volunteers work alongside caregivers to provide the highest possible level of physical comfort, meaning and peace of mind to their patients. Some services include:
- assisting patients with daily activities
- providing pain management
- counseling patients and families
- educating and preparing families
- acting as advocates with medical and other professionals
- serving as a confidante
- lending perspective to a very emotionally charged situation.
Thanks to the generosity of individuals and local businesses who made donations through the Bloomington Hospital Foundation, all of these essential services are now available in one facility specifically designed for hospice patients and families. The Hospice House is a vital resource for the community.
Why Not Just Care for a Patient at Home?
Often, caregivers cannot care for a patient at home due to:
- the level of care required
- lack of physical strength or clinical knowledge
- inexperience with pain management
- work or family obligations
- no family in the area.
In the Bloomington area, families with the limitations described used to be left with only two options: the hospital or a nursing facility. Both are costly. Both can feel “institutional” and not particularly comfortable for families who want to gather around their loved one.
Additionally, some people simply do not want to die at home for various reasons. In-home hospice is a great choice for some families, but it doesn’t work for everyone.
The Hospice House is a place that feels like home but has the essential resources to care for patients with comfort and compassion in life’s final days. The goal is to eliminate some of the stress and worry of the last days or weeks of patients’ lives, taking care of day-to-day needs so that families can focus on enjoying meaningful time together.
Building a Hospice House was the next step in the growth of one of south central Indiana’s most sought-after health care services. IU Health Home Care & IU Health Hospice in Bloomington will continue to provide quality, compassionate, comfort care to hospice patients and families each year in their homes, the hospital or nursing facilities. But for some patients, the new Hospice House will provide a key option in their continuum of care.