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VITAS' Commitment to Providing Quality Care
By Evalisa McClure, RN, VITAS General Manager

VITAS Healthcare, a pioneer and leader in the hospice movement since 1978, has made it a priority to ensure that terminally ill patients and their families in Pittsburgh have immediate access to compassionate and high quality end-of-life care.

Hospice is intended to help people during the last six months of life and is better utilized at the beginning of a terminal diagnosis rather than the last few days of life. Too often, patients and families elect hospice late in the course of their illness and miss out on the many benefits hospice has to offer.

Unlike common misconceptions suggesting that hospice is a "place," hospice is a philosophy of care that focuses on enhancing people's comfort and quality of life during their final months of life. It includes expert pain management and may be administered at patients' homes, hospice inpatient units as well as hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living communities or residential care facilities. The care is provided by skilled, interdisciplinary teams of experts, including physicians, nurses, home health aides, social workers, chaplains, bereavement specialists and volunteers, who work together to ensure the best-possible quality of life for patients and their loved ones.

Since 2005, VITAS has helped define and continuously elevate the standards of care for hospice throughout Pittsburgh and is committed to helping patients stay at home, or in their preferred settings. Our team of physicians and Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners (ARNP), led by our board certified medical director, are well prepared to provide the compassionate care that patients deserve at the end of life, including: 

  • Routine home care, available wherever the patient resides.
  • Intensive Comfort Care, a service that puts trained clinicians at our patient's bedside up to 24 hours a day during a brief period of crisis.
  • Respite Care, provides a brief break for the patient's primary caregiver by admitting the home care patient to an institutional setting without meeting the "inpatient" pain and symptom management criteria.

Inpatient hospice care is provided at designated inpatient units for a short period when a patient's medical needs cannot be managed at home.

VITAS works hard to ensure people can access these and other important resources. Our trained hospice professionals live in the counties VITAS services (Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Lawrence, Washington, and Westmoreland) and work closely with patients and their families to provide the caring, compassionate attention they need.

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