Lakewood Ranch Herald

Tidewell to locate hospice unit inside Lakewood Ranch Medical Center

LAKEWOOD RANCH — Tidewell Hospice has entered into a five-year lease agreement with Lakewood Ranch Medical Center to locate an inpatient hospice unit within the hospital.

Tidewell and Lakewood Ranch Medical officials are saying the unit, which will serve terminally ill patients, will be the first of its kind in the Manatee and Sarasota area.

“Its a new concept for hospitals on the west coast of Florida,” said Gerry Radford, Tidewell Hospice president and CEO.

Tidewell Hospice is a non-profit organization that offers home-based support for people living with advanced illnesses through seven hospice units in Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and DeSoto counties.

The Tidewell Care Center will be located on the hospital’s third floor and will feature six private rooms. The unit will operate independently from the hospital and will be staffed on a 24-hour rotation. The unit will be ready to accept its first patient on Monday.

“We are thrilled to be able to announce this unique lease arrangement with Tidewell that allows Lakewood Ranch Medical Center to be the first site of expanded hospice services available to residents of Manatee and surrounding counties,” said Jim Wilson, Lakewood Ranch Medical CEO.

Radford said inpatient hospice units within hospitals are becoming more prevalent around the country and are quite common on the east coast of Florida. He’s anticipating more area hospitals will follow suit.

“I hope so,” he said. “I’m trying to candidly convince the other CEOs in the area it's a good idea and a win-win, especially for the families.”Radford said Tidewell is involved in conversations to locate a unit within a hospital in the North Port area.

“The No. 1 win is for the family members,” Radford said. “They don’t have to relocate or find another relocation when the individual they are there to visit is transferred to hospice care.

Tidewell has a hospice house in Ellenton and downtown Bradenton. Previously, hospice patients in Lakewood Ranch were transferred to Ellenton or Sarasota for inpatient care.

“It's great for physicians because they don’t have to leave the hospital to see their patient,” Radford said.

Nick Williams, East Manatee reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411 ext. 7049. Twitter: @_1NickWilliams