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Saint Peter’s University Hospital has begun operation of a hospice program for adults in association with Bloomfield-based Hospice of New Jersey, one of the oldest and largest providers of hospice care in the United States.
The joint hospice venture is designed to care for people with a variety of life-limiting conditions when symptoms no longer respond to curative treatment. Those conditions include AIDS, ALS, Alzheimer’s Diseases or other dementias, cancer, congestive heart disease, end-stage kidney disease, lung disease, multi-system breakdown, and stroke.
Elizabeth Wykpisz, RN, MSN, MBA, NEA-BC, and chief nursing officer at Saint Peter’s University Hospital, said hospice care is used when a patient “may require a high level of skilled medical assistance, may require extensive adjustment to medications for symptom management, and has persistent symptoms that cannot be managed in another setting.”
Hospice care is designed to be palliative – meaning that its primary focus is to alleviate pain and relieve symptoms, Wykpisz added.
A patients who has a terminal illness with a limited life expectancy, as determined by their physician, is eligible to receive hospice care at Saint Peter’s. Those patients deemed suited to the hospice program will receive: pain and symptom management; pharmacy, medical and equipment services; spiritual and emotional support; leading-edge technology for clinical care, and access to staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The hospice beds are located on the oncology and intensive care units at Saint Peter’s. Saint Peter’s is providing nursing coverage and Hospice of New Jersey supplies a dayside nursing assistant. Marcus Porcelli, MD, hematology/oncology, is program director.
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