WELLMONT HOSPICE HOUSE OFFERS COMFORT TO DYING

BRISTOL – It’s not an easy subject for most people to discuss. But dying is an inevitable part of life.

During November, designated as National Hospice Month, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization is urging families to talk about their final days and the kind of care they want to receive when the end of life draws near. For more and more local residents, Wellmont Hospice House is part of that important discussion.

Located on the campus of Wellmont Bristol Regional Medical Center, Wellmont Hospice House opened in 1996 as Tennessee’s first freestanding residential hospice facility. In the eight years since the facility first opened its doors, more than 2,500 people have turned to the Hospice House to ease their final days.

“The Hospice House offers a comfortable, home-like setting,” said Angie Browning, the facility’s volunteer coordinator and social worker. “We offer care and support not just to terminally ill patients but also to their family members.”

The 12,000-square-foot Hospice House features eight patient rooms with 24-hour nursing care. Each patient room opens onto an individual patio and garden, and the doors are wide enough to allow patient beds to be wheeled outside. The facility also features a great room, library, family kitchen and chapel.

Some patients visit the Hospice House for pain management before returning home to live out their final days, while others stay for a day or two to give their caregivers a break. Many patients choose to spend the last days of life in the Hospice House, surrounded by dedicated staff and caring volunteers who offer comfort and support to patients and family members alike.

“When a patient dies, the hospice program extends support to families for up to 18 months through a bereavement program,” Browning said. “We can’t take the pain away, but we can offer comfort and understanding.”

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