New inpatient hospice unit in Everett ‘welcoming to families’

  • By Sharon Salyer Herald Writer
  • Sunday, February 28, 2016 7:36pm
  • Local News

EVERETT — A new $5.3 million inpatient hospice unit, the first such service in Snohomish County, is scheduled to open in early April.

“There are times when people’s symptoms can’t be managed at home,” said Peg Rutchik, vice president of hospice services for Providence Senior and Community Services.

They need to be brought to an inpatient setting, she said. “This environment is very peaceful, home-like and welcoming to families — less busy than a hospital environment.” The rooms are on the eighth floor of A wing on the Colby Campus of Providence Regional Medical Center Everett.

There will be room for 16 patients, including two rooms that can be used by infants and youngsters. Each room has a foldout chair that can be used for sleeping so friends and family members can stay with their loved one.

Kitchen facilities are included so families can cook their own food, Rutchik said. There is a quiet room for people to sit and read a book, and a room for counseling and family meetings. And there’s a room for kids to play while family members visit patients.

The hospice center will have a staff of about 20 people. Typically, patients will stay three to five days, enough time to better manage their symptoms, such as pain, difficulty breathing and anxiety.

The new service is expected to treat 425 patients in its first year and nearly 600 by its third year. The costs of the stay are usually covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance plans, Rutchik said.

The opening of the hospice unit culminates a goal that first was announced by Sister Georgette Bayless in 2003, during a celebration of the 25th anniversary of Providence Hospice &Homecare of Snohomish County, which she helped found.

In 2009, the hospice program was set to buy a 2-acre site in South Everett for a new in-patient hospice program. But the recession brought those plans to an end.

Bayless and other supporters of the hospice program never gave up, hoping plans could be revived. That happened in 2014, when Providence announced plans to open the inpatient hospice unit on the hospital campus. The opening of Providence’s $460 million medical tower in 2011 freed up space on its Colby Campus for the inpatient hospice program.

Since its founding in 1978, Providence Hospice &Homecare of Snohomish County has provided services to patients in their homes as well as bereavement services and respite care, serving nearly 2,000 adults and children annually.

Although there are similar inpatient hospice facilities in Bellingham and Kirkland, this is the first such facility in the state located in a hospital, Rutchik said. “I have to commend the community for their desire to make this dream happen.”

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 ; salyer@heraldnet.com.

Open house

An open house for the community to tour the new in-patient hospice center at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett is scheduled from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. March 3. The unit is on the eighth floor of the A wing of the hospital’s Colby Campus. Enter the building near the corner of 13th Street and Colby Avenue.

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