VITAS Healthcare, the nation’s leading provider of end-of-life care, has opened its newest program in Pensacola and is currently accepting hospice-appropriate patients. VITAS leads the way in the development of hospice and palliative care to improve the quality of life for patients and their families through compassion, clinical expertise, strength and guidance to maximize comfort and preserve dignity.
The Pensacola program will provide VITAS’ unique end-of-life care services currently offered at its 44 programs across the country, including all levels of hospice care, bereavement support and home medical equipment assistance. Additionally, VITAS of Pensacola will provide complementary therapies and patient-focused programs at the bedside such as:
· Lavender Touch: A gentle hand massage administered by trained volunteers that offers added comfort, support, and one-on-one attention.
· Music Therapy: A visit led by a certified music therapists to patients with the goal of meeting physical, emotional, cognitive, social, and spiritual needs through music.
· Paw Pals: Loving animals—and their owners—who visit patients to provide comfort.
· Life Review: A written, audio or video biography of a hospice patient, provided by specially-trained volunteers.
· VITAS’ award-winning Veterans Program.
“We are honored to be part of this community,” said Edith Beroldi, General Manager, VITAS of Pensacola. “Our team has put their heart and soul into building this program and are excited to pour this passion into caring for our patients.” Beroldi joined the VITAS team in 1993 as a nurse in the inpatient unit, and because of her proven leadership, enthusiasm and dedication, she has been tasked to lead the Pensacola program.
Unique aspects of VITAS’ presence in Pensacola will include a mobile hospice education van focused on outreach to residents living in rural areas. The van is a crucial component to VITAS’ partnership with the Northwest Florida Rural Health Network and will provide end-of-life education to healthcare providers and residents.
VITAS of Pensacola has partnered with the Alabama Florida Panhandle Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association to support new and established support groups as well as respite care programs for families of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
While patient care is first and foremost, VITAS is also committed to the improvement of health for all Pensacola and surrounding area residents by partnering with Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida to provide a food pantry and food delivery services for residents in need.
“Our goal is to be an integral part of the Pensacola community, not just for our patients, but for their families living in the area,” said Nick Westfall, CEO of VITAS Healthcare. “VITAS has had remarkable growth because of our exceptional caregivers and unique services, and the opening of this program is another opportunity to provide patients and their families with the highest quality of end-of-life care.”
VITAS plans on offering three hospice offices in the Florida Panhandle within two years. The Pensacola office is currently open and accepting patients. Its additional offices will be based in Ft. Walton/Niceville and in the Milton area.