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Providing Something MoreThe rewards of caring for those who are dying are at the heart of hospice and a catalyst in the continuing impact hospice has had for individuals across the nation since its inception in this country in 1974. Nowhere is it more evident than on Florida's gulf coast where Hospice of Southwest Florida will care for approximately 5,000 patients this year.

Founded in 1980, Hospice of Southwest Florida has grown significantly in the last two decades, not only serving more patients each year, but also as a pathfinder exploring new ways to continually provide "something more" for patients and families dealing with a life-limiting illness.

Hospice of Southwest Florida is among the largest programs in this country with a current daily census of 450 patients. It is a local, private not-for-profit organization serving Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties.

Although hospice is often perceived as an alternative just for cancer patients, hospice admits patients with a broad range of diagnoses including heart and lung disease, AIDS, renal failure, ALS and end-stage Alzheimer's. Any disease with a predictable prognosis of six months or less is within hospice admission criteria.

Death with dignity is the goal of Hospice of Southwest Florida. It is accomplished through the expression of sensitivity in the care of individuals facing their final phase of life. By doing so, hospice is able to pay tribute to the principles that distinguish hospice from other types of health care providers:

  • Holistic care
  • A team of professionals serving each family
  • An in-home centered philosophy
  • A patient and family focus
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Open access without regard to ability to pay

One of the greatest hopes for dying patients is to be pain-free and to have distressing symptoms controlled. Early on hospice learned that quality of life revolves around these two factors, and only when they are controlled can people reach beyond to the comforts and therapeutic healing of mind and spirit.

The unique services of hospice make it stand alone as the premier provider of care specifically for patients at the end of life. Since its founding in the U.S. 25 years ago, the hospice movement has grown to include 3,000 hospice programs in all 50 states. Last year, hospices across the nation served nearly 700,000 patients.

In July 2001 Hospice of Southwest Florida was named a "Champion of Industry" by Pat Summerall Productions, as an example of a standard of what hospices are supposed to be. The award is part of a corporate recognition series for companies and businesses.

Rand Boulevard, Sarasota

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