Gloucester House adds palliative care unit

Bill Nachman - Posted on Aug 21, 2013 - 11:31 AM

There have been several changes recently at Gloucester House, including the addition of a palliative care unit and two top staff.

Deirdre Lund, who recently returned to Gloucester House as administrator after holding two other positions for parent company Commonwealth Assisted Living, said this is the first palliative care unit that Commonwealth has opened at any of the 18 facilities it owns and operates throughout Virginia.

Joan Horne, who previously worked at Gloucester House, has been named coordinator for the new unit, called The Cottage at Gloucester House, which was recently added onto the Meredith Drive facility near Gloucester Court House. Horne said the new unit has approximately 3,000 square feet, which includes 10 private care rooms, a nurse station, family sitting room and dining area. Meals for residents are prepared elsewhere in the main building.

Because residents in the new unit are in end-of-life or other extensive care situations, Horne said, the staff has been specially chosen to deal compassionately with the residents and their families. Horne, a licensed practical nurse, heads a staff of about a dozen full- and part-time workers for the new unit.

Gloucester House’s new unit does not offer hospice care, Lund said, because that requires having a registered nurse and medical director on staff. Instead, Gloucester House offers palliative care for those patients in end-of-life and extensive care situations, using an LPN and trained nurse assistants.

Gloucester House works in conjunction with local hospice programs to provide care for residents in the new unit, Horne said.