Serving more than 1,200 patients daily in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties, Tidewell is one of the largest not-for-profit hospices in the U.S. Home-based palliative care is the basic premise of Tidewell’s services, involving the support of physicians, registered nurses, social service counselors, certified nursing assistants and volunteers, all following a prescribed plan of care. Tidewell’s services are available to everyone, regardless of ability to pay.
The reward of caring for those with advanced illness is at the heart of hospice and a catalyst in the continuing impact hospice has had for individuals across the nation. Nowhere is it more evident than on Florida’s gulf coast, where Tidewell will care for more than 8,000 patients this year.
Founded in 1980, Tidewell has grown significantly in the past three decades. Although hospice is often misunderstood as care just for cancer patients, Tidewell admits patients with a broad range of diagnoses, including heart and lung disease, AIDS, renal failure, ALS and end-stage Alzheimer’s. Any disease with a predictable prognosis of six months or less is within Tidewell’s admission criteria.
Creating a quality, dignified end-of-life experience is Tidewell’s goal. In doing so, Tidewell pays tribute to the principles that distinguish hospice from other types of health care providers:
- Holistic care
- A team of professionals serving every family
- An in-home centered philosophy
- A patient and family focus
Hospice patients’ greatest hopes are to be pain-free and to have their distressing symptoms managed. Early on, hospice providers learned that quality of life revolves around these two factors, and only when they are controlled can people reach beyond to the comforts and therapeutic healing of mind and spirit.
In choosing Tidewell, patients and families make a decision to spend their last months together in a familiar, caring environment. Tidewell’s supportive services create a sense of relief, as trained professionals offer care and guidance. They are experts in pain and symptom control. Decisions are made based on the individualized needs of patients, with the realization that something more can always be done to bring comfort and dignity to those living with advanced illness.