A Unique Hospice Facility Now in Sonoma

new hospiceThe Hospital Care Room at Sonoma Valley Hospital is the only one of its kind in the country, and has already proven to be a much-needed option for Sonoma Valley patients facing the end of life and who need community support. Struggling with increasingly complex symptoms effects all individuals in need of medical and physical care and/or those who lack family or other resources are in need of a safe, comfortable environment. This Care Room offers a cost effective way for these patients to receive the level of medical and psychosocial care that they need.

In 2013, Sonoma Valley Hospital approached Hospice by the Bay about establishing a suite in the skilled nursing facility to aid those with advanced illness and in need of professional care. Typically, an individual living at home or in a facility with a declining condition goes to the Emergency Department and is admitted to the hospital. The cost of this admission varies with the level of care the patient needs, but the savings of bypassing the hospital is anywhere from $4,366 to $12,878 a day.  There was a clear need for a hospice care room within the hospital – a safe and caring place for individuals to receive end-of-life care without incurring any cost.  The receipt of an Innovation Grant from Impact100 last year provided the funding needed for the initial phase of this effort, which has already proven highly successful.

Now, with eight months of data on hand, the program is being reviewed
hospice 2to help increase its utilization and further refine how best to give effective healthcare to those in need of this end-of-life service. Thus far, 22 patients have used the facility with an average stay of 3.8 days.  This equals a 24% occupancy rate and steps are being taken to reach the goal of 70% occupancy.  Staff availability is being increased to make the room readily available whenever a patient is ready and eligible.  One difficulty encountered is that late referrals to hospice are a challenge. Hospice by the Bay is expanding the ways it is educating physicians, patients, and their families to the benefits of contacting them at an earlier stage of disease progression.

With Sonoma Valley Hospital’s location, most of the patients served by the Hospice Care Room are Sonoma Valley residents and if multiple usage needs arise, a second room is made available.  The community has also supported the program in different ways: financial support from community members, lap quilts provided by a group from Broadway Quilts, and fresh flowers twice a week brought in by Altimira Middle School students from their school garden.  The families who have used the suite have been overwhelmingly satisfied with the care given to their loved ones and the support they have received.

Text provided by Impact100 member, Jeanette Barekman
Photos provided by Hospice by the Bay