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Health Care New Castle County News

New ChristianaCare partnership launches in-home hospice care

Katie Tabeling

WILMINGTON — ChristianaCare has inked a joint venture agreement with long-term partner Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care of Delaware to offer in-home care throughout the First State for the first time.

Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care, a subsidiary of AccentCare, has been providing end-of-life care in Delaware for more than 14 years with its staff of 260 employees. Through this partnership, ChristianaCare and Seasons Hospice will be able to care for thousands of Delawareans in need of end-of-life care in their homes.

ChristianaCare, the state’s largest hospital system, has signed a joint venture with Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care to provide an in-home hospice program for the first time. | PHOTO COURTESY CHRISTIANACARE

Seasons Hospice and AccentCare has more than 30,700 employees to serve 200,000 people across 30 states.

“Our patients and their families will continue to experience compassionate, supportive care that is personalized to suit their needs and add to their quality of life,” Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care CEO Todd Stern said. “Together, we have a rare opportunity to shape the future of post-acute care so people who need our services can receive them on their terms and where they want them.”

The state’s largest health system offered skilled nursing care through the Homehealth program. But in the past, ChristianaCare patients looking for in-home hospice care were referred to other providers, which can interrupt care.

“It can be distressing for patients or families making end-of-life decisions to have to leave. Health care is about providing the right care, at the right time and the right place, and this new partnership will ensure that end-of-life care is seamless,” said Ric Cuming, ChristianaCare chief nurse executive and president of ChristianaCare HomeHealth.

Seasons has partnered with ChristianaCare since 2012, when the service was contracted to run the 12-bed hospice unit at the ChristianaCare Campus near Newark. Last year, Season expanded to lease out a 13-bed unit at the Wilmington Campus.

Hospice care in Delaware is on the rise, as 18% of the state’s population was 65 or older in 2019. That number is expected to rise to 52% by 2030 and 62% by 2040.

The First State has the second-highest rate of hospice use in the country at 59.4% among Medicare Medicare decedents in 2018, according to the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO). The national average in 2018 was 50.3%.

“With a burgeoning baby boomer population in Delaware, it will be more important than ever to deliver the right care at home,” Cuming said.

ChristianaCare declined to comment on whether Seasons will continue to lease out both units under the joint venture, and it is too early to say whether there will be similar additions to other Christiana facilities throughout the state.

Seasons Hospice will manage daily patient care. A governing board will consist of three individuals from each organization. The board will establish a clinical and quality oversight committee in the next few weeks.

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