Health Team

New Hospice to Help Terminally Ill End Life With Dignity

Posted November 26, 2007

When a terminal illness slowly takes a life, families desire a death with dignity. A new hospice home in Durham will fill that need for special in-patient care for nine area counties.

"Dying with dignity and having pleasant last days and weeks of your life is extremely important," Gary Hock, a Durham developer, said.

Hock said he remembers that the hospice care his mother received in the autumn of her life helped her end come without pain or misery. That motivated him to help Duke Health System build a new $2.7-million inpatient hospice care facility.

"Hospice actually provides the emotional, psycho-social, physical needs of the patient as they're facing a life-limited terminal illness," Starr Browning, a registered nurse and executive director of Duke Hospice services, said.

Most hospice patients and families receive care from specially trained nurses, social workers and even chaplains in the comfort of their own homes.

"But there comes a time when possibly the patient can't be managed in the home any longer," Browning said.

That was the case of Billie Hall's husband, who received hospice care from Duke. "It's just unbelievable how they take care of patients, the compassion they have for the families," she said.

But to visit her husband, Hall had to drive 20 minutes to a six-bed hospice facility in Hillsborough.

"We frequently aren't able to admit patients to that facility, because there's such a great need in our community as the population ages," Browning said.

Duke's new 12-bed facility will help meet provide a home away from home at the close of life for in a nine-county area. Construction was scheduled to begin in December, and the facility should open its doors in January 2009.

It will be located next to the Teer House, a Duke center for community education.


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  • PaulRevere Nov 28, 2007

    2alegal...I'm only speculating, but maybe they feel the more beds they the less personal the care will be?

  • IHave1-2 Nov 28, 2007

    It sounds like hospice is wonderful. I wouldn't know. My dad's cancer was so aggressive, the oncologist didn't see the need to get our family any additional help - this was our first family member with cancer. I went to the local hospice office and begged for them to help. They refused; said they couldn't without a doctor's order. Well, Dad passed; my mother and I did the best we could on our own, making plenty of mistakes during those horrible 5 months. So for any others finding themselves in the same position, I highly recommend the reading of "Final Gifts", written by hospice nurses. It's better than no help at all.

  • nofear Nov 27, 2007

    God bless to all

  • 2alegal Nov 27, 2007

    Why only 12 beds? Seems like this house is needed but should probably be bigger.

  • NC_VET Nov 27, 2007

    Hospice provided care for my wife before she died a couple of
    months ago, they provided excellent care and support. They are
    some of the most caring people I have ever met.

  • Maddie girl Nov 27, 2007

    I too use to work for Hospice,awesome !!!!! We need so many more places like this, 12 beds ??

  • garnertoy Nov 27, 2007

    they were good to my mother and was there to the end

  • mt1190 Nov 27, 2007

    Hospice of Maryland helped my mother and I will always be thankful for that!!!

  • divajls Nov 27, 2007

    As an employee of Duke HomeCare & Hospice as well as a volunteer for Duke Hospice, I'm so proud of my organization for building this facility. It will allow many more patients to receive the quality and compassionate care that is a universal standard for all of our patients, hospice and otherwise.

  • They call me CATMAN Nov 27, 2007

    Hospice is a God Send. When my Father was dying of Cancer they were there to provide items to make his final days on this earth as comfortable as could be. Thank God for Hospice they will always have a special place in my heart.