SUCCESS STORY – PALLIATIVE CARE CENTER AT SAINT MARY HOME
Located in West Hartford, CT and a ministry of The Mercy Community, Saint Mary Home (SMH) is the oldest continuously-operating skilled nursing facility in Connecticut. SMH serves more than 400 elderly and poor on a daily basis, 12% of whom are African American or Latino, 75% female and all of whom require supervision and assistance with daily tasks of living.
In keeping with its Mission "…believing in the intrinsic dignity of all persons, we uphold the common good, respond to the needs of the human body and spirit, and inspire hope and confidence on life's journey," SMH considers palliative care the capstone of our person-centered approach. Palliative care's goal is to relieve and prevent suffering while improving the quality of life for the resident and his or her family. Prior to the funding received from the Nonprofit Grant Program, SMH was serving palliative care residents throughout the 256-bed skilled care facility. The grant allowed us to establish a Palliative Care Center and renovate an additional 12 skilled care rooms within our 1967-era building. The people we serve desperately need these services and upgrades. Relief from suffering is only part of The Mercy Community's Palliative Care Program. Treating the "whole person" means going well beyond relief. The Mercy Community offers a holistic physical and spiritual assessment, taking into consideration the social and practical issues that arise with chronic and debilitating illness.
In skilled care, the physical setting is a major component of healing; old, dark, or outdated furnishings and equipment can negatively contribute to a person's outlook. In contrast, our ability to upgrade their rooms and bathrooms to create modern, well-lit, and accessible living quarters and common areas provides them with a more comfortable, home-like environment, and strengthens our ability to deliver effective care. Through this grant, The Palliative Care Center at The Mercy Community has expanded our programming, improved our appearance, extended our caregivers' training, and also, most importantly, it has enhanced our residents' quality of life.