The Hospice of the Florida Suncoast
Mary Labyak, MSSW, LCSW
Executive Director and President
300 East Bay Drive
Largo, FL 33770
The Hospice of the Florida Suncoast (The Hospice) is a community-based, non-profit agency serving all of
Pinellas County, Florida, which is located in the Tampa Bay area, with a comprehensive program of medical
care, and emotional and spiritual support services for anyone affected by terminal illness. Since its inception
23 years ago, The Hospice has worked with more than 50,000 people.
Hospice of the Florida Suncoast is the only licensed hospice and health and human services system in this county of 885,000 citizens,
where 26 percent of the residents are aged 65 and over. It serves more than 1200 patients daily. Average patient length
of stay in the program is 78 days and median length of stay is 25 days. Currently, 850 professional and support staff
work with 2600 trained volunteers to provide a range of services to patients and their families. Both groups receive
additional training and orientation when they join The Hospice. All new patient/family care staff, including
psychologists and other therapists, social workers, and chaplains participate in a comprehensive competency-based
orientation program that includes 40 hours of classroom training. New patient/family care volunteers attend
an eight-week orientation that is the equivalent of 24 hours of contact.
Program services are delivered through seven non-profit divisions: Hospice of the Florida Suncoast (Hospice Care),
HomeCare of the Florida Suncoast, The Hospice Institute of the Florida Suncoast (education, research and consultation),
The Hospice Foundation of the Florida Suncoast (development and community relations), Suncoast Solutions (computer software
systems), AIDS Community Project of Tampa Bay (ACP) and FACT: For AIDS Care Today, Inc. (community outreach, service and
support). The Hospice provides $8 million worth of uncompensated care annually thanks to the fundraising efforts of The
This wealth of resources of all kinds allows The Hospice to offer an unusual breadth and depth of services to patients,
families and others affected by death. These services include the hospice interdisciplinary team, which delivers palliative
care to hospice patients in any care setting; continuous care services, which offer an alternative to hospitalization for
short periods during family crises, rapid deterioration of the patient's condition and/or imminent death; respite services;
the AIDS community project; pediatric hospice; and a child and family support program (CSFP) to provide bereavement services to
children and families with a seriously ill family member.
CSFP includes an annual bereavement camp (Camp Triple L: Love, Laughter, Leisure) for children who have recently experienced
the death of a loved one as well as a family retreat for families in grief. In the last three years, more than 240 children have
benefited from Camp Triple L. CSFP also performs outreach in schools and other institutions to help young people who have had
some affiliation with a person who suddenly dies—whether from homicide, suicide, accidental death or illness. CFSP has handled
more than 75 crisis cases, helping more than 2400 young people since 1995.
The Hospice has a range of bereavement programs, including the Bridges Program, which offers continued support for family
members after the death of a Hospice patient. Because of extensive fundraising, this program is able to offer the same support
to individuals and families in Pinellas County, who have experienced the death of a loved one, but have not been part of the
Hospice patient care program.
In 1994, the Hospice initiated the Hospice Intergenerational Teen Volunteer Program, designed to invest young people in
their communities through meaningful volunteer service, to strengthen their support network through the mentoring process,
and to affect their perception of death and dying in a positive way. Specific programs include Life Time Legacies, a life
review project that trained teens produce with terminally ill patients. The Hospice has also created a coalition of 22 active
faith communities (churches, temples and synagogues) with more than 130 volunteers, who provide caregiving ministries for their
elderly or ill members.
In concert with these intergenerational and cross-faith efforts that seem to permeate cross-sections of the community,
The Hospice also offers services to those in need in a wide range of settings. Currently, 57 percent of patients served live in
their own homes or in the homes of relatives or friends. Since 1992, The Hospice has had a residential program serving more
than 1,300 people. Hospice Houses Woodside is a 67-bed residential facility with 24-hour care in a home-like setting for patients
who are unable to remain in other living arrangements. Patients in this setting follow their own personal schedules and come and go
as they please. Visitors have unlimited access to patients. Hospice Woodside Villas, which opened in 1997, is for terminally-ill
people who have limited financial resources, but are still capable of living independently with supportive care. It is the first
such housing of its kind anywhere in the United States. The Hospice also has contracts and collaborative relationships with 88 of
the 91 nursing homes in Pinellas County and works with more than 15 hospitals in the county to meet hospice patients' needs for continuity of care.
[Return to Circle of Life Award Overview]
Post a Comment