Villa Marie Claire, the first freestanding, residential hospice in Northern New Jersey, and one of only a few in the state, accepted its first patients in mid-January at its 26-acre facility in Saddle River, N.J. The 20-bed manor for comprehensive end-of-life care is the most recent development from Holy Name Medical Centers Hospice and Palliative Services program, which emphasizes a holistic approach to achieving quality of life for people with advanced terminal illness.
Everything about the Villa, from its family-focused philosophy and interfaith/intercultural educated healthcare team to its overnight accommodations for family members, speaks to a profound belief that quality can be achieved at every stage of life, regardless of an individuals medical diagnosis or physical and cognitive abilities, Michael Maron, president and CEO of Holy Name Medical Center, said in a news release.Every patient bed faces a window offering views of the estate grounds.
According to Jean Leone, executive director and clinical administrator of Hospice and Palliative Services and Villa Marie Claire, hospice emphasizes living well during the final months, weeks or days of an individuals life. The goal of hospice, Leone said, is to create and foster a pain-free and peaceful existence through symptom management and a compassionate presence so that this part of an individuals life may be spent with dignity and comfort. She adds that patients, caretakers, loved ones, even cherished pets, all work as partners in realizing a patients wishes at the Villa.
The interfaith, intercultural approach to care is a unique feature, and integral to the Villas mission. Our interdisciplinary team is educated and focused conceptually on interfaith and interspiritual traditions, Leone said. Our sanctuary is a place where anyone, no matter their beliefs or cultural mores, can feel welcome. This allows those who are apprehensive about coming to the hospice setting to feel understood and to experience peace.
In conjunction with pain and symptom management, the Villa offers a broad range of integrative therapies, including massage, art therapy, pet therapy, music therapy, aromatherapy, horticulture therapy and Reiki.Villa Marie Claires mission includes education about end-of-life issues and functioning as a resource for interspiritual and multicultural matters.
The Villa is the only residential hospice in the area with overnight accommodations for loved ones. Bright, well-appointed guest rooms have the feel of a bed-and-breakfast, offering amenities such as flat-screen TVs, Internet access and telephones. A separate kitchen and living area allows family and other members of the patients support system to prepare special meals or socialize among themselves. There is an inground pool adjacent to the backyard patio, which will open seasonally for use by patients and visitors, and all are invited to enjoy the fields and gardens.
In addition to providing patient care and support to family, caregivers and significant others, the Villa Marie Claires mission includes educating individuals and the professional healthcare community about end-of-life issues and functioning as a resource for interspiritual and multicultural matters, as they relate to hospice and palliative care. One aspect of this commitment is to dispel myths associated with hospice care and end-of-life.
One such misconception is that hospice hastens death. Another presumption is that dying must be a fear-filled, lonely process in which the individual loses hope and all sense of personal control. But according to national studies, patients receiving hospice care often live longer because of increased physical comfort, holistic care of body, mind and spirit, and the sense of relief that a burden has been lifted from family and loved ones.
People who are terminally ill can still be effective, Charles Vialotti, MD, medical director of Villa Marie Claire, said in a news release. They can make decisions. They can participate in family life. In a nurturing environment where palliative care is accepted, patients live better and often longer, and family members are able to come to terms with what’s happening.