VITAS Healthcare Brings Compassionate Hospice Care to Community Health and Rehabilitation Center

June 21, 2021

PANAMA CITY, FL — Hospice patients and their families throughout a six-county area of Northern Florida can now experience high-acuity, inpatient hospice care at the new eight-bed VITAS Suites at Community Health and Rehabilitation Center in Panama City.

Inpatient hospice care is provided around the clock by a hospice team for patients whose symptoms can no longer be managed at home or in their preferred care setting, such as a nursing home or assisted living community. Interdisciplinary VITAS hospice teams focus on symptom management and comfort care until patients can return home.

The ceremonial ribbon-cutting with purple ribbon at the entrance to VITAS Suites

VITAS General Manager Jennifer Phillips Boask and VP of Operations Terry Holecek cut the ceremonial ribbon held by Regional Director of Market Development Mike Smith and Panama City Mayor Greg Budnicki.

On hand for the June 17th dedication ceremony were Panama City Mayor Greg Budnicki, representatives from the Bay County Chamber, executive staff from area hospitals, educational leaders from Florida State University, and partners from organizations like the Alzheimer’s Association and Panama City Rescue Mission.

“This enhanced level of hospice care represents another step in our community’s inspiring recovery from the 2018 devastation of Hurricane Michael,” said Marianne Martin, administrator at Community Health and Rehabilitation. The rebuilt facility began reopening in October 2020 after experiencing severe damage in the wake of the record-breaking Category 5 hurricane.

“Since the day VITAS came to Panama City, they have provided invaluable support to our community time and time again,” according to Martin. “The new VITAS Suites will provide tremendous benefits and easy access to hospice care for our residents, patients, their families and our entire community.”

Located at 3611 Transmitter Road, the VITAS Suites at Community Health and Rehabilitation Center features eight private rooms with TV, computer and Internet access; overnight accommodations and 24/7 facility access for family members, in accordance with current health guidelines and safety protocols from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; a shared kitchenette with food for families provided by the facility; pet visits; and a shared family room, outdoor courtyard and conference room. It is expected to serve more than 400 patients annually.

The VITAS team together in the lobby with a Paw Pals pet visit dog

VITAS Healthcare staff (front row) Pensacola General Manager Kyle Rice with his Paw Pal Clooney; (back row) Medical Director John Boden, Mike Smith, Senior Regional HR Director Donna Strange, Jennifer Phillips Bosak, and Terry Holecek.

“The availability of these inpatient hospice beds eases the concerns of patients and family members while relieving the burdens on our Panama City-area healthcare partners and providers,” said Jennifer Phillips Bosak, general manager of VITAS in Panama City. “Our ability to provide complex modalities for patients experiencing difficult-to-manage symptoms supports compassionate, comfort-focused care by our expert hospice teams without patients having to travel far from home.”

VITAS began providing hospice care in a six-county Panama City area in July 2020 in patients’ homes or their preferred care settings. VITAS clinicians and care teams are available 24/7 to provide care and answer questions.

Clinicians can download the VITAS Healthcare mobile app for 24/7 referrals, locations and interactive hospice eligibility guidelines, or contact VITAS 24/7 at 800.93.VITAS.

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