April 1, 2012 Saint Peter's Healthcare System Community Calendar Featured Article.
At a time of serious illness, when
the decision is made that available
treatments are not beneﬁcial,
hospice provides physical and emotional
care for the patient and family. End-oflife care is focused on the patient’s quality
of life during this time. At Saint Peter’s
University Hospital, hospice care is provided
for patients at bedside in partnership with
Hospice of New Jersey. The Bloomﬁeldbased organization is one of the oldest and
largest providers of hospice services in the
United States. Patients and their families
are cared for by a nurse trained in hospice
care and Hospice of New Jersey provides a
bedside nursing assistant.
Hospice care is designed
to be palliative – meaning
that its primary focus is to
alleviate pain and relieve
symptoms, says Elizabeth
Wykpisz, RN, MSN, MBA,
NEA-BC, chief nursing
ofﬁcer at Saint Peter’s
Hospice care is available to patients who
may require a high level of skilled medical
assistance or extensive adjustment to
medications for symptom management, and
who have persistent symptoms that cannot
be managed in another setting, she adds.
“This program ties into our mission to
continue to provide quality care for patients
at the end of life,” she says. “This partnership allows both organizations to share
expertise and support our patients and their
Hospice care is available as an extension of
critical care at Saint Peter’s University
Hospital. The hospital’s critical care team
of nurses recently earned a third Beacon
Award for Critical Care Excellence, a record
achieved by only 10 critical care units in the
country. Presented by the American
Association of Critical Care Nurses, the
award recognizes the nation’s top critical
care units among the more than 6,000
operating in the country.
Patients 18 years or older can be admitted
to the Saint Peter’s hospice program from
an inpatient unit in the hospital. Here, as
with all other discharge planning, a social
worker is involved. The social worker talks
to the patient and/or family and primary
care physician about the possibility of
discharge from the hospital and admission
to the inpatient hospice program.
Saint Peter’s staff reaches out to the on-site
hospice nurse who serves as the liaison for
referrals to the inpatient hospice program.
If it’s after hours, there is an on-call nurse
available. Once a physician provides
discharge orders from Saint Peter’s, the
patient becomes a patient of Hospice of
New Jersey while staying at Saint Peter’s.
Patients receive pain management and
symptom relief; 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.
Another extension of the program is the
support services available. Patients can
be counseled by a hospice social worker.
Spiritual support, in conjunction with local
clergy, as requested, also is provided.
Specially trained volunteers also are part
of the hospice team. These carefully
selected volunteers have ﬁrst-hand
experience with a family member or close
friend who requires special care and
support. Volunteers participate in an
extensive training program and attend
regular meetings after training. Volunteers
help to run errands, stay with patients so
caregivers can run errands or take a break,
and provide transportation.
List of services available through
For more information about hospice care
at Saint Peter’s University Hospital, please
call the Care Coordination Department at
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