It had been 11 years since Tidewell Hospice opened a new facility to care for the terminally ill. That changed Friday when the Sarasota-based organization unveiled a new location in the ever-growing Lakewood Ranch area.
The $5 million building is now the organization’s largest and features state-of-the-art technology, including an enhanced call system for patients, in-room charting for nurses and spacious rooms that are meant to feel like home.
There are amenities for guests and patients, clinical director Jean Henrich said. Sofas fold out into beds for overnight guests, there are family rooms and kitchens, and all of the artwork was crafted by local artists.
There are 12 private patient rooms at the 11535 Rangeland Parkway location, with six of them available at the start. What’s more, there is room for the 14,000-square-foot facility to grow.
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“The house has been configured to expand to 24 beds total, but that will depend on the community,” vice president of philanthropy Aida Matic said. “We’ll listen to them, see what they need and adapt.”
And the medical staff will be listening closely to the patients, Henrich said. The in-room call system will immediately alert nurses to the severity of the call with a color-coded light system. The staff will never be too far away from their patients, either, thanks to a symmetrical layout and a centered staff station.
In the wake of Hurricane Irma, Gov. Rick Scott initiated an emergency order declaring that nursing homes and assisted living facilities must have generators capable of running air conditioning by mid-November. Henrich said the new hospice house meets those guidelines and more.
How many of my family members, or even myself, will be here one day? I’m comforted to know it’s here for all us.
Manatee County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh
“This building was built to hurricane standards. During the last hurricane, we did a lockdown and our staff stayed with our patients,” Henrich said, pointing out that the building is Category 5-ready. “We don’t ever have to worry about moving our patients.”
Donors and community members were invited to attend the building’s grand opening Friday. Tours of the facility were also given.
“How many of my family members, or even myself, will be here one day? I’m comforted to know it’s here for all us,” Manatee County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh said.
The new hospice house is expected to begin hosting patients in about a month, with communications director Timothy Wolfrum saying there are a few basic regulatory hurdles to clear. He expects the facility to house about 400 patients a year.
There are Tidewell Hospice homes in Manatee, Sarasota, DeSoto and Charlotte counties, including one in Bradenton and another in Ellenton. CEO Gerry Radford said Tidewell also offers in-home hospice care.
For more information, visit tidewellhospice.org.