In good hands: VA medical center introduces new inpatient hospice room and dialysis suites

Published 12:04 am Tuesday, May 21, 2024

SALISBURY — The death of a family member can be one of the hardest things a person can go through. While the whole process can be scary and overwhelming, there are means to make the experience as pleasant as possible for the patient and their family. The W.G. (Bill) Hefner Salisbury Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center seemed to have figured out how.

The medical center held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new inpatient hospice room, dialysis suites and six patient care rooms earlier this month. The amenities will allow veterans to get the treatment they need. Construction began during the days of COVID, but thanks to the work of the VA employees who built it, veterans can finally reap the benefits. 

“We come together to honor those who have selflessly served our country and now require specialized care. Some of them are in their final moments,” said Dr. Kamran Lateef, chief of hospital medicine. “In this sanctuary of compassion and solace, every detail has been meticulously crafted to offer the highest quality of care tailored to the unique needs of our beloved veterans.”

Chief of Medicine Dr. Charles de Comarmond said the hospice suite was designed to look after veterans who only have a few days left to live. Immediately adjacent to the hospice unit, is a family room where people can decompress and relax during their darkest moments. 

“The new hospice suite stands not only as a physical structure, but as a symbol of our unwavering commitment to providing comfort, dignity and respect to our terminally ill veterans,” Lateef said.

After his uncle died from pancreatic cancer several years ago and not being able to utilize similar hospice facilities the medical center they stayed at had, de Comarmond realized there was more he could do to give back to veterans in a meaningful way.

“From that moment on, I knew that something had to change for all of the veterans. We are not the first VA to have an inpatient hospice room, but we are one of the new VAs that do have it,” de Comarmond said. 

In addition to the inpatient hospice suite, there are now four new dialysis bays at the medical center as well. Three of them are in one single room and the other is located in an isolation bay for people with an infectious disease. 

April Moorman, a nurse at the medical center, said the bays are larger, more modern, have storage, counter space for medications, ceiling lifts that weigh patients and are separated from other parts of the hospital. 

“It offers a quiet and private space for our veterans to receive care,” Moorman said. 

Patients have already started using the bays and are huge fans. Michele Cogar, a nurse at the medical center, met with a patient and his wife who had seen the old bays and she said they couldn’t have been happier from what they saw. 

“It was nice to hear that they appreciated this new space,” Cogar said.