By Beth Hester
Renderings courtesy of Hospice House of Hampton Roads
“The Hampton Roads region is fortunate to have top rated cardiovascular, orthopedic, pediatric and cancer facilities providing life-saving care for its citizens. The Dozoretz Hospice House of Hampton Roads will be the first freestanding hospice house in our area. It will be a vital facility offering end-of-life care to our community” – Dr. Paul F. Schellhammer, retired urologist, chairman of the Hospice House of Hampton Roads board of directors
In just a few months, the Hospice House of Hampton Roads (HHHR), an independent, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, will break ground on the region’s first community-led, purpose-built, freestanding inpatient hospice care facility.
Named after Dr. Ronald Dozoretz, a psychiatrist, health care visionary and compassionate community leader, the site is situated in the Red Mill section of Virginia Beach on 2.5 acres of land generously donated by the city of Virginia Beach. As HHHR operating partners, Beth Sholom Village and Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay bring decades of professional expertise in residential healthcare to the venture.
The Dozoretz Hospice House of Hampton Roads will bridge what has long been viewed as a glaring gap in the area’s health care system as our region had become the largest Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) in the nation without a freestanding hospice house. When completed, the thoughtfully designed facility will include 12 private bedroom suites for patients and welcoming common areas for family, caregivers and visitors.
The facility will also be home to the HHHR Bereavement Center, which will augment hospice services by helping families navigate the grieving process. Trained volunteers, clergy and professional counselors will provide personalized services for at least one year after the patient’s death.
Shari Friedman, daughter of Dr. Dozoretz, shared this statement about her father’s long-time support for the project: “He was an extremely caring person and was passionate about improving the quality of life in Hampton Roads, where he started his career. He wanted to name the first freestanding hospice house in Hampton Roads because he wanted our community to have a warm, loving, compassionate and supportive place for people and their families to gather during a loved one’s end of life journey.”
In-home hospice care providers offer patients and their families a range of welcome services, but they aren’t equipped to deliver the kind of round-the-clock care often required as the end of life draws near. Even under the best circumstances, immediate family members with good intentions may ultimately find themselves exhausted and overwhelmed, unable to negotiate additional leave from work or coordinate child care.
Often the task of handling a loved one’s comfort care and pain management can be too emotionally demanding to bear, and family members may not want to retain unpleasant memories of a death in the home. Additionally, there are patients who don’t have friends or relatives living in the area to help assist in their care.
“Inpatient hospice care makes a real difference,” HHHR’s marketing materials note. “Hospice is about celebrating what time patients have left and making them as comfortable as possible during that time. Inpatient hospice allows patients and their loved ones to spend their last months focusing on the things that are ultimately the most meaningful. Quality hospice care supports the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of everyone involved and ensures that no one dies alone.”
Aesthetics also matter in the hospice setting. Thoughtful use of a building’s physical space and the integration of comforting interior design elements provide patients and their loved ones with an environment that supports both physical and psychological health. As the project’s architect and interior designer, the firm of Cox, Kliewer & Company created a beautiful, cohesive building design that will fit comfortably in the surrounding residential neighborhood.
“Hospice Houses are as much about supporting the dignity of the patient and the wellbeing of families dealing with an impending loss by providing a comforting physical environment as they are about the medical aspects of care during the time they are present,” says Duff Kliewer, president and principal of Cox, Kliewer & Company. “The interior design scheme complements the warm, welcoming feeling of the building through the use of a soft color palette, fabrics that are welcoming to the touch, and finishes that are practical yet elegant.”
The people behind HHHR are optimistic about the future of inpatient hospice care in our region, and plans for the construction of additional hospice houses are being considered. Visit their website to explore volunteer opportunities and discover avenues for charitable giving.
Learn more at HospiceHouseHR.org