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Niagara Hospice, Northgate partner on first-of-a-kind center

by jmaloni
Thu, Mar 1st 2012 10:00 am

Niagara Hospice and The McGuire Group's Northgate Health Care Facility in Wheatfield are collaborating on a unique unit designed specifically for residents receiving hospice care in a long-term care setting.

Redevelopment of a 22-bed unit at Northgate, located at 7264 Nash Road, began in January and is expected to be completed by April. Residential care will be co-managed by both organizations and is notably the first of its kind in New York state.

The unit is affectionately named Hospice at Jeanne's House - A Northgate and Niagara Hospice Collaboration after a beloved Northgate employee who utilized Hospice services herself. It will be devoted to meeting the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of terminally ill residents requiring both 24-hour skilled nursing care and the unique services that only Niagara Hospice can provide. Decreased Medicare funding requires providers to find economies of scale while providing uncompromised service - this collaboration not only does that, but also enhances the hospice services residents receive in one setting by allowing staff to see more patients and spending less time travelling from place to place.

According to a study sponsored by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, only 6 percent of nursing home residents in the U.S. currently elect the hospice benefit, even though nearly one-in-four deaths in the U.S. occur in a nursing home. There are a number of reasons for this, including the territorial nature of health care providers, conflicting regulations and Medicare reimbursement. The collaborative teams at Niagara Hospice and Northgate have chosen to take a more positive approach, working together to create medical protocols and a physical environment that can deliver a breadth of progressive, comprehensive services in a setting where it is needed the most. 

As a center of excellence for hospice care in nursing homes, staff at Hospice at Jeanne's House - A Northgate and Niagara Hospice Collaboration has been specifically trained to meet the requirements for providing this specialized level of care. Through this collaboration, the unit will be dedicated entirely to Northgate residents receiving hospice care. It will feature beautifully decorated private and semi-private rooms; a lounge with access to an enclosed and furnished outdoor courtyard; comfort areas for family and other visitors; volunteer companions; specialized therapies such as massage; music and pet visits; advance care planning and bereavement services for family members. Medical services will include 24-hour skilled nursing care; IV therapy for pain and symptom management; pharmacy consultations; oxygen therapy; and other specialized services, as needed.

Terry Collins, R.N., an administrator at Northgate, commented that this collaboration could very well serve as a model for future relationships between long term care facilities and hospices. "Hospice at Jeanne's House - A Northgate and Niagara Hospice Collaboration is a natural extension of the culture that already exists here at Northgate," stated Collins. "By partnering with Niagara Hospice, we have the ability to further define our vision and offer one-of-a-kind services to those in our community."

Niagara Hospice Vice President of Hospice Services Stephen Schinnagel said, "This collaboration is the first of its kind in our state and we look forward to working with all the staff at Northgate. The excellent care provided to each of their residents parallels the care that Niagara Hospice has also become known for."

Hospice is specialized care for the terminally ill. Niagara Hospice provides support services to both the patient and family - providing comfort, dignity and choice. For more information, call 439-4417 or visit www.NiagaraHospice.org.

Northgate Health Care Facility provides 24-hour skilled nursing care, subacute and outpatient rehabilitation, memory care and respite/short-term care. For more information, call 694-7700 or visit www.McGuireGroup.com.

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