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Big Bend Hospice to open care unit at TMH with help of local credit union

Posted at 7:46 PM, Jun 29, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-29 19:46:08-04

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) — Big Bend Hospice is opening their new compassionate care center at TMH.

The project was jump-started by a $1 million donation from First Commerce Credit Union.

This project at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare is personal for people like Doctor Deborah Morris.
Improving the quality of life for people in their last moments is what drove her to pursue hospice care.

"My grandfather, who was a World War II veteran, was dying a horrible, heart failure death," Morris said. "I have very vivid memories of visiting him in a hospital and a nursing home saying 'help me.'"

Morris, Medical Director of Big Bend Hospice, said she wanted better for her beloved, dying grandfather while she was in med-school.

"There has to be a better way to take care of people with dignity," Morris said. "As I went through medical training, I found the world of hospice and palliative medicine."

Big Bend Hospice is now bringing that type of care to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital.

The group is building an eight-unit facility to help care for people who cannot receive medical treatment at home during their final moments.

The facility is not all about the medicine. Units like this one are meant to provide a peaceful setting for patients, but it's important to note that that comfort and care is also for their family.

Family comfort is something Chief Nursing Officer Michaelde'angelo Tascier said is one of the most important things they do.

"Being able to connect with someone on a level at their last moments, their last hours, their last breathe, to hold their hand as they make the transition from this life to something else is.... I don't have words for it," Tascier said.

Alan Neubauer has a first-hand experience with hospice care improving the quality of life for his family in a difficult time.

Being the chair of the board of directors for First Commerce Credit Union made the bank's donation of one million dollars to personal for him.

"We had a support system around us making sure that all of the little things we we're overlooking because we were focused on paying attention to our loved one were being taken care of," said Neubauer.

Morris said this will make a similar impact on the families and patients that use this new facility in the future.

"As I think about this unit and as I walk through and see it being built, I think about all of the patients this year that would have benefited from this place," Morris said.

The unit can be expected to open later this year.