Big Bend Hospice announces new wing at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital

Big Bend Hospice announces new hospice wing at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital
Published: Jun. 29, 2023 at 7:37 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 29, 2023 at 8:31 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A construction project on the third floor of Tallahassee Memorial Hospital has been kept under wraps for weeks. But now, the word is out.

Big Bend Hospice is just months away from opening the First Commerce Center for Compassionate Care, an eight-room wing at TMH that the group says will be a first for the region.

Big Bend Hospice and First Commerce Credit Union held a press conference Thursday morning to announce the center, which is funded by a $5 million campaign by the Big Bend Hospice Foundation.

First Commerce Credit Union donated $1 million towards the project, which organizers say will help many more families receive end-of-life care than would otherwise be possible.

Deborah Morris is the Chief Medical Director at Big Bend Hospice. She said many patients are just not in a position to leave the hospital and enter a more comfortable setting once doctors have determined hospice is the best option.

“Unfortunately, a lot of people are too sick to leave the hospital, so they spend their final hours, days, and even weeks sometimes in a hospital room with great nurses, but nurses who aren’t specialized in end-of-life care, with great physicians, but again- who aren’t specialized,” she said.

The new wing will feature eight state-of-the-art rooms that are designed to feel more like a home instead of a hospital room, according to Big Bend Hospice Foundation President Dena Strickland.

The rooms will feature digital displays on the ceiling showing blue skies and falling leaves. Two stained glass pieces have been commissioned for the unit, including for a room designed to be an intimate chapel.

Strickland says the place will serve as a peaceful retreat for families who need space to say goodbye, and it will be open to anyone.

“We make sure we turn no one away regardless of ability to pay,” she said. “So we provide that hope, that care, that compassionate care to all those who need it the most.”

The First Commerce Center for Compassionate Care is set to open in November.

The foundation is still about $1 million dollars shy of its $5 million dollar fundraising goal and has published a web page for the public to learn more about the project.

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