VITAS Announces Groundbreaking for Community Life and Inpatient Center at Delray Beach


Unveiling a rendering at the Delray Beach groundbreaking

Michael Hansen, Senior Vice President of Facilities, Diana Smith, General Manager of VITAS Palm Beach, and Mary Zalaznik, Senior Vice President of Operations, unveil an artist's rendering of the facility, which is scheduled to open in November 2015.

MIAMI & DELRAY BEACH, Fla. – VITAS Healthcare, the nation's leading provider of end-of-life care, today announced the groundbreaking of the VITAS Community Life and Inpatient Center at Delray Beach. The start of construction was celebrated in a ceremony attended by local health care professionals, business and community leaders, and VITAS staff members and executives.

The VITAS Community Life and Inpatient Center at Delray Beach is the first hospice inpatient unit (IPU) the company has built from the ground up and is its fifth freestanding IPU. At the groundbreaking ceremony, VITAS announced that this facility alone will serve approximately 550 patients each year. VITAS currently operates 34 IPUs nationwide, most of which are located within hospital campuses. Hospice IPUs like the new Delray Beach facility enable VITAS to provide care for hospice patients whose symptoms have become unmanageable in their home-care setting. Most patients return home after spending a few days in the units.

“The construction of the VITAS IPU in Delray underscores our commitment to meeting the growing demand for our quality, compassionate care in the South Florida community,” said VITAS President and CFO David Wester. “We chose this area of Palm Beach County so that local VITAS patients who have complex symptom management needs that require highly skilled care around the clock will have greater access to our inpatient services, as well as the robust resources offered in our Community Life Center. Together with our existing IPU at West Palm Hospital, the Delray IPU will strengthen our service capabilities in Palm Beach, a county we have proudly served since 2002.”

A 10-second time lapse of construction through August, 2015.

With construction underway, the eight-bed, 14,000-plus square foot unit will be situated on a lushly landscaped 2.2-acre site and is scheduled to be completed in November. The state-of-the-art IPU is designed to offer patients and families a soothing, home-like environment where VITAS’ interdisciplinary teams of physicians, nurses, hospice aides, social workers, chaplains, volunteers and bereavement support staff members will attend to the medical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of patients and their families.

Features of the energy-efficient facility include a spacious family room, kitchen and lanai, and a quiet room for contemplation – all designed to feel like “home” and include wireless Internet access and cable televisions. All patient rooms will have private lanais and offer overnight accommodations for family members. In-house spa features including an immersion bath and massage facilities will be available to enhance patient care. The facility will also include a community outreach center for end-of-life care education and a small administrative office. The grounds will be fully landscaped with more than 1,700 native Florida plants, creating a park-like environment that overlooks a small pond. The facility will accept 24-hour direct admissions of high-acuity patients.

In addition to state-of-the-art equipment and home-like amenities, the Delray Beach IPU will be home to a special art work by Delray Beach artist Jerry Gotkin, whose art is catalogued in the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Portrait Gallery Library as "The Marjorie and Jerry Gotkin Collection 1965-2007." As someone who has personally experienced hospice services when caring for his wife Marjorie, Jerryís work will convey the emotion and love felt by VITASí patients and their families.

Getting ready to break ground with shovels and hardhats

Left to right: Robert Weinroth, Boca Raton Deputy Mayor, Diana Smith, General Manager of VITAS Palm Beach, Maureen Knips, Vice President of Hospice Operations, Mary Zalaznik, Senior Vice President of Operations, and Michael Hansen, Senior Vice President of Facilities.

Delray Beach groundbreaking

Left to right: Maureen Knips, Vice President of Hospice Operations, Jerry Gotkin, Artist, and Mary Zalaznik, Senior Vice President of Operations.