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Memorial Health System, Heritage Health to Open 19-Bed Inpatient Hospice Unit in Springfield

A 19-bed inpatient hospice unit will open in early June as part of an expansion of a partnership between Memorial Health System and Heritage Health.

The opening is pending approval by the Illinois Department of Public Health. The 10,946-square-foot skilled nursing unit, Memorial Hospice at Heritage, will occupy part of the newly renovated first floor of Heritage Health, 900 N. Rutledge St., Springfield.

"Heritage Health is committed to providing compassionate and high-quality services to our residents and their families during a very sensitive time," said Benjamin Hart, president and CEO of Heritage Enterprises. "We are pleased to partner with Memorial Health System to bring this much-needed service to Springfield."

Memorial Hospice at Heritage features private patient rooms with comfortable seating for family members. Rooms have couches that fold out to beds to allow family members to stay overnight. The unit includes three family lounge areas and a kitchenette with an ice machine and complimentary beverages.

"Care will focus on comfort and quality of life through physical, emotional and spiritual support for patients and their loved ones," said Ronda Dudley, director of home health and hospice for Memorial Home Services, an affiliate of Memorial Health System. "This service will strive to ensure patients are free of pain and symptoms, allowing them to live their final days in peace."

Dr. Dushyant Patel, a hospitalist with Springfield Clinic, will serve as the medical director. The unit will have free Wi-Fi access and a separate entrance for patients and families.

The hospice unit will have 48 full- and part-time staff members managed by Heritage Health plus access to chaplains from Memorial Medical Center for spiritual support. Hospice staff from Memorial Home Services will provide grief support services to families for more than a year after the passing of a loved one and ongoing training and education of unit staff in the hospice philosophy of care.

Patients will receive the same level of services through Memorial Hospice at Heritage as they do through Memorial Home Services' at-home hospice program, Dudley said. Memorial Home Services provides a nonprofit home-hospice program serving 14 central Illinois counties.

Patients with Memorial Hospice at Heritage will typically require a higher level of care and must meet specific skilled nursing facility criteria to qualify for placement on the unit.

Memorial Health System and Heritage Health have operated the four-story Springfield location, formerly Heritage Manor, as a joint venture since 1996.

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