VITAS Healthcare Opens Doors to New Inpatient Center at Delray Beach

06/16/2016

Cutting the ribbon

(From left to right), VITAS Vice President of Hospice Operations Maureen Knips, VITAS CEO Nick Westfall, General Manager of VITAS Palm Beach Diana Smith and VITAS Sr. Vice President of Operations Mary Zalaznik cut the ceremonial ribbon at the grand opening of the VITAS Healthcare Inpatient Center at Delray Beach on June 16, 2016. The Delray Beach facility is the first hospice inpatient unit that the company has built from the ground up and its second facility in Palm Beach County.

VITAS Healthcare, the nation's leading provider of end-of-life care, today announced the grand opening of the VITAS Healthcare Inpatient Center at Delray Beach. VITAS staff members and executives were joined at the grand opening event on Thursday, June 16, by local dignitaries, business and community leaders.

The VITAS Healthcare Inpatient Center at Delray Beach is the first hospice inpatient unit (IPU) that the company has built from the ground up and its second facility in Palm Beach County. The 14,000 square foot facility houses eight beds in a modern, home-like environment that includes a spacious family room and kitchen, a meditation room, and a spa area for patient services. The grounds are 2.2 acres that are fully landscaped with more than 1,700 native Florida plants, creating a park-like environment that overlooks a tranquility pond. The facility accepts 24-hour direct admissions of high-acuity patients referred by doctors and hospitals throughout Palm Beach. The facility will serve approximately 550 patients each year and create numerous job opportunities in the area.

“There is a growing demand for quality, compassionate care in our community, and the VITAS Healthcare IPU in Delray is transforming and improving the landscape of end-of-life care in South Florida,” said VITAS Chief Executive Officer Nick Westfall. “This IPU facility is the first that VITAS has built from the ground up and we designed it so that local patients who have complex symptom management needs and require highly skilled care around the clock will have greater access to our robust inpatient services in a home-like environment. Together with our existing IPU at West Palm Hospital, the Delray IPU has strengthened our service capabilities in Palm Beach, a county we have proudly served since 2002.”

Highlighted at the grand opening, VITAS offers numerous therapies at the IPU, including music, pet and massage therapy to help patients experience a greater quality of life. Following the demonstrations of the unique therapies and programs, attendees participated in a butterfly release ceremony. This was the first annual butterfly release that the facility will host for families to celebrate and honor their loved ones who have passed.

VITAS currently operates 31 IPUs nationwide, most of which are located within hospital campuses. Freestanding 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 IPU.

The new IPU is designed to offer patients and families a soothing and comfortable environment where VITAS’ interdisciplinary teams of physicians, nurses, hospice aides, social workers, chaplains, volunteers and bereavement support staff members can attend to the medical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of patients and their families.

In addition to state-of-the-art equipment and amenities, the Delray Beach IPU is now home to Delray Beach artist Jerry Gotkin’s art work, 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, Jerry has generously donated several art pieces that currently adorn the unit.

VITAS Healthcare CEO Nick Westfall at the podium

VITAS Healthcare CEO Nick Westfall addressed local dignitaries and community leaders in the audience at the grand opening event of the VITAS Healthcare Inpatient Center at Delray Beach.

Three Pet Paws volunteers with their dogs, two beagles and a toy breed

During the grand opening of the VITAS Healthcare Inpatient Center at Delray Beach, visitors were invited to tour the facility and learn about several creative therapies that help terminally-ill patients experience a greater quality of life. Pictured are VITAS “Paw Pals” pet volunteers and their owners. The pets are trained to provide comfort and a special kind of friendship to anyone who can benefit. Hospice pet volunteers visit patients in the IPU as well as in nursing homes, assisted living communities and private homes. Hospice pet visits offer a welcome distraction from illness and help people feel less lonely, more relaxed, and happier.

A VITAS music therapy volunteer plays guitar in a public gathering area

Music therapy was also featured during the tour of the VITAS Healthcare Inpatient Center at Delray Beach. VITAS board-certified music therapists use clinical and evidence-based music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship. At VITAS the music therapist works closely with the other members of the care team to meet each patient’s physical, emotional, cognitive, social and spiritual needs.

The immersion tub

The new VITAS Healthcare Inpatient Center at Delray Beach houses a spa-like area for patients, which includes a staff massage therapist, massage tables and a specially designed, seated immersion tub, which can provide immense relief for patients who otherwise would be unable to enjoy the soothing benefits of a bath.

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