When the fifth floor of Presbyterian Hospital Matthews opens this fall, hospice will have a new home.
For the first time, the hospital at 1500 Matthews Township Pkwy. will be able to offer up to three rooms specifically for hospice patients. Hospice services are focused on terminally-ill patients and bringing comfort to their finals days of life.
Every year North Carolina evaluates their hospitals and awards new services and equipment to better serve the hospitals that are in need. In order to receive the new rooms, which have a construction price tag of about $350,000, Presbyterian Matthews filled out an application to receive three of seven available hospice rooms. The hospital is working on ways to be more efficient to bring the construction cost down, hospital spokeswoman Sharon Harmon said.
“Every year the state does a needs methodology and based on that number they see how many patients may have died at a hospital facility and determine the number of beds that will support the patient population,” said Kim Darden, director of hospice and palliative care.
Presbyterian Hospital in uptown Charlotte is the only Presbyterian hospital in the Charlotte area with beds specifically reserved for hospice patients. So Matthews hospital officials hope the beds will help patients and families in the community who are in need of hospice services.
Now, patients in Matthews who are in need of hospice services are often transferred to the uptown location, putting extra stress on family members who often travel further to visit. Or those who aren’t, remain scattered throughout the hospital. The new unit will allow hospice patients to be in one area and receive more focused care. If the demand grows ,the hospital hopes to be able to expand their hospice services.
“We are excited about this opportunity,” Brenda Schooley, senior director of nursing at Presbyterian Matthews, said. “I think there is a real need here for a person who needs that service. It’s going to be wonderful to have that service here instead of having to send them 10 miles downtown.”
While a timeline has not been set, Presbyterian in Charlotte also will receive 10 additional beds for their hospice unit. The hospital now has eight hospice beds.
“Having the three beds is really going to enhance our ability to enhance our hospice care,” Darden said. “It’s wonderful having the capability of being able to serve those families in their communities. I’m honored to be a part of that.”
The $16.6 million hospital construction project is the first major construction at the hospital since it was built 18 years ago. The addition, expected to be complete in November, will also include be a 26,519-square-foot expansion of the intensive care unit and a relocation of the intermediate unit as well as the medical surgical floor and an expansion of cancer services.