CHH Opens New Supportive Care Unit

The Charlotte Hungerford Hospital (CHH) opened its new Supportive Care Unit at a dedication ceremony held on March 15th. Hospital administrators, board members, donors and staff assembled to tour the unit and learn more about this important new resource for patients and their families.   

Charlotte’s new Supportive Care was designed to provide more specialized care and comfort to people facing severely life-limiting illness or terminal illness. Located in a newly renovated wing of the hospital’s 5th floor, this new area consists of four patient rooms, a family lounge, quiet room and kitchen area to accommodate families that may stay for extended and overnight periods. The rooms also feature music and DVD players, specialized lighting, and hand-designed prayer shawls for each patient. The unit’s original photography was donated by Digital Impressionist Joseph Allegrini.     

“There is more to hospital care than curing a disease and restoring physical health.  There is also relieving pain, providing comfort, supporting families and meeting the physical psychological and spiritual needs of those people who may face life limiting illness.” said Dan McIntyre, CHH President & Executive Director. 

Supportive care is a relatively new method of dealing with severely life-limiting or terminal illness that is primarily focused on improving quality of life for patients and families. The team of caregivers who attend to patients in this area practice this specialty to help reduce physical and emotional burdens of illness through symptom management, supportive counseling, advance care planning, and enhanced knowledge and compassion.

Supportive Care Attributes

The new unit seeks to provide patients and their families a pleasant, home-like environment with amenities like coffee, snacks, a computer, a TV and a phone.  The unit includes an additional quiet room for private conferencing, meditation and conversation, limited overnight sleeping availability, and access to integrative therapies including massage, reflexology and music. The healthcare team in the supportive care unit is also specially trained to provide emotional and mental support and intervention for any and all family members, medication and nutritional support, and a sensitivity to and adaption for spiritual, religious and cultural preferences of the patient.

A Staff with Special Expertise

Patients and their families receive care from an interdisciplinary team specifically trained on palliative (support) care.  The team specializes in relieving pain, improving quality of life, providing comfort, handling grief, honoring patient and family wishes and more.  The team includes as physician, a registered nurse, a patient care technician, and representatives from the dietary, physical therapy, case management, social work and spiritual care departments of the hospital.

Patients and Family Always in Control

Choosing supportive care rather than aggressive treatment is often difficult. To the patient and family it means accepting a poor prognosis.  But it also means providing a special kind of care to a loved one. Our goal is to provide a greater comfort and a peaceful pain free death.  All major decisions about a patient’s supportive care are made by the patient and loved ones. 

What Can A Patient Expect? 

  • Symptom Management:

Expertise in treating one or more symptoms including pain, fatigue, weight loss, weakness, shortness of breath and difficulty sleeping.  We also treat psychological and emotional symptoms including confusion, depression and anxiety. 

  • Supportive Counseling: 

Supportive care specialists communicate clearly and compassionately.  Social workers, case managers and chaplains support the physicians and nurses in providing counseling services. 

  • Advance Care Planning: 

We provide information on coping with issues that arise as disease takes its toll.  Our staff can help you make informed preparations.  We offer in-depth knowledge on end-of-life resources and provide assistances in finding and coordinating care with community services. 

  • An experienced, knowledgeable and compassionate staff throughout any illness: 

Whether you seek a cure or focus on improving the quality of life, the Supportive Care Unit team offers continual physical and emotional support to both patients and families at every stage of the illness.

For more information about the hospital’s new Supportive Care Unit, call 860-496-6544.

The Charlotte Hungerford Hospital is a 109 bed, general acute care hospital located in Torrington, Connecticut, that serves as a regional health care resource for 100,000 residents of Litchfield County and Northwest Connecticut. CHH offers personalized attention from an expert team of caregivers and physicians that utilize advanced technology and clinical partnerships in a convenient, safe and comfortable patient environment. One Thousand Caregivers, One Job, Your Health. Visit www.charlottehungerford.org for information.

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