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2008 Press Releases
Gulfside Regional Hospice, Morton Plant North Bay Hospital Announce First Palliative Care Partnership in Pasco County

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. (March 10, 2008) – Gulfside Regional Hospice and Morton Plant North Bay Hospital announce a new inpatient palliative care partnership that will benefit Pasco County residents. The partnership between the hospice and hospital is the first of its kind in Pasco County.

Patients experiencing a chronic, debilitating disease or life threatening illness often are in need of specialized, compassionate care focused on managing the pain, symptoms and stress of the illness. The palliative care program partnership offers clinical, social and spiritual treatment and support for patients and their families. Unlike a hospice patient, a palliative care patient is not always end-of-life and still may be seeking curative treatments for their illness.

“Like a hospice patient, palliative patients require care that relieves suffering and improves quality of life” said Randi Ferrare, Director of the Palliative Care Program and Morton Plant Mease Health Management Services. “Working with Gulfside Regional Hospice, the partnership will continue to support those patients who are in need of symptom management for illnesses such as diabetes, chronic pain, dementia, cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or congestive heart failure.”

The palliative care partnership offers numerous benefits to both patients and their families including expert treatment of pain and symptoms, help reducing confusion, anxiety and stress for the patient and family, clear answers and communication about the condition of the patient and help with difficult decision-making, and support for the family in their care giving role - offering advice, instruction and referrals for support services.

Staff from both Gulfside Regional Hospice and Morton Plant North Bay Hospital will be part of the team that offers services to patients. The palliative care team can include specialized physicians, nurses, social workers and chaplains. The team strives to see each patient on the same day as the consult is requested so that issues and symptoms may be addressed as soon as possible. The team recommends treatment or a course of action to the consulting physician and meets with the patient’s family to address spiritual and social needs. When a patient is discharged from the hospital, the coordination of palliative care services will continue in another setting with support from Gulfside Regional Hospice’s community-based palliative care services.

“Our palliative care partnership with Gulfside is a collaborative effort reaching across all medical disciplines including local physicians. We believe it will provide an important resource in caring for our community” said John Couris, Chief Operating Officer, Morton Plant North Bay Hospital.

“This mission-driven initiative combines two incredibly skilled health care teams in delivering palliative care,” said Linda L. Ward, president and CEO at Gulfside Regional Hospice. “Joining forces has been a great experience, and I am confident that this new service provision will result in many positive patient outcomes.  Working together to serve our community – that’s what it’s all about.”

“It is a privilege for our Gulfside palliative care clinical team to be in a partnership that helps those in the community who are struggling with a debilitating chronic or life-threatening illness,” said Kathy Postiglione, vice-president of operations for Gulfside Regional Hospice. 

Gulfside Regional Hospice is a non-profit, community-based organization providing compassionate, quality care to individuals and their loved ones as they face life-limiting illness and grief.  Established in 1988, Gulfside Regional Hospice has offices in New Port Richey and Dade City and Hospice Houses in downtown New Port Richey, at Sunset Bay in New Port Richey and The Edwinola in Dade City.  More than 250 employees and 350 volunteers care for nearly 450 patients daily.

Established in 1965, Morton Plant North Bay Hospital is a 122-bed facility committed to improving the health of everyone it serves. Morton Plant North Bay’s stroke care program has received the highest level of recognition - the Gold Seal of ApprovalTM for Primary Stroke Care from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). The hospitals of Morton Plant Mease Health Care are part of the first group of hospitals nationally to have earned re-certification of the Gold Seal of Approval™ for stroke care from the Joint Commission. In 2003, the hospital was awarded Magnet Designation by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the most prestigious national recognition of excellence in nursing care. Morton Plant North Bay Hospital is located at 6600 Madison Street, New Port Richey, Fla., (727) 842-8468.

Nationally recognized for health care excellence, Morton Plant Mease Health Care is dedicated to providing community owned health care services that set the standard for high-quality, compassionate care. Morton Plant Mease Health Care is comprised of the following hospitals: Morton Plant, Clearwater; Mease Dunedin, Dunedin; Mease Countryside, Safety Harbor and Morton Plant North Bay, New Port Richey.

To learn more about the program, call 727-298-6040 or visit To learn more Gulfside Regional Hospice services, visit or call (727) 845-5707.

MEDIA CONTACTS: Beth Hardy Morton Plant Mease Health Care(727) 298-6199, or Ashley Mann Gulfside Regional Hospice 727) 845-5707,