Frequently Asked Questions


What is a hospice house?

A hospice house provides inpatient acute care for patients at the same level of care received in a hospital. Hospice patients can stay in a hospice house when their symptoms, such as pain, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, restlessness and agitation, become difficult to manage at home. Admitted patients receive a private room and
bathroom and access to professional staff 24 hours a day.


What are the benefits to building a new house in Lakewood Ranch?

The design of the Lakewood Ranch Hospice House provides capacity for 12 patient rooms with the ability for future expansion to 24 rooms. Hospice patients residing in the Lakewood Ranch area (who previously had to travel to the nearest Tidewell hospice house with an available bed) will have a more convenient alternative. A hospice house would complete the full spectrum of health care for the community and provide an alternative to unnecessary and costly hospitalizations.


When should a patient be admitted to a hospice house?

Being at home and close to friends and family is usually the first choice of most people. When that is not possible, Tidewell provides an alternative where professional staff is available 24 hours a day and a physician specializing in symptom control visits daily. Patients may be admitted to a hospice house when symptoms, such as pain, nausea, shortness of breath, vomiting, agitation and restlessness, become difficult to manage at home. Patients also may be admitted to a hospice house for short periods while their caregivers receive a period of respite.


Exactly who will be served?

Patients are eligible for hospice when certified by a physician to have a terminal illness with a prognosis of six months or less (if the disease runs its normal course). Many Tidewell patients have cancer, but each potential admission is individually assessed for appropriateness for the program. Tidewell routinely has patients with end-stage congestive heart failure, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), Alzheimer’s and other diseases.


Why 12 patient rooms?

The Lakewood Ranch Hospice House will have 12 spacious private rooms to meet the initial need of the area’s population. Patient care is built around two nursing stations, which are strategically located in the “heart of the hospice house” with a patient to staff ratio of 1:6 for RNs and CNAs. The house’s clinical director, offices and medication room are located within the nursing station to promote the Tidewell team approach to patient care.


How long do patients stay at a hospice house?

Although the length of stay for each patient admitted to a hospice house varies, the average length of stay is eight days. Tidewell’s hospice houses can be a place of temporary placement for the control of distressing symptoms or it can be a place where patients come while their caregivers get a well-earned, much-needed period of respite.


How many patients are expected to be served annually through the new hospice house?

An estimated 400 patients per year will be served by Tidewell’s new hospice house. The house will also enhance Tidewell’s engagement with Lakewood Ranch, including free bereavement services provided to all and more opportunities for prospective volunteers.


How much will the project cost to build and to operate?

The projected total cost of the residence, including furnishings, is $4.8 million. The total campaign goal of $7 million includes construction, site preparation, furnishings and contributions toward maintenance, endowment and future operating costs of the new hospice house and other seven hospice houses. The cost of annual operations is projected at $2,047,000 upon start-up, increasing to $2,127,000 at full capacity, or about $970 per room per day.


How is hospice funded?

Tidewell’s services are financially supported by Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, as well as that of some private insurance carriers. Patients 65 years old or older are covered through the Hospice Medicare Benefit. Patients younger than 65 are often paid for through community support. Gaps in reimbursement are covered through philanthropic giving.