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2008 Press Releases
Morton Plant Mease & The Hospice of the Florida Suncoast Expand Palliative Care Program


July 28, 2008

Specialized Care Provides Hope, Eases Pain

Clearwater, Fla. – Patients who experience chronic, debilitating disease or are living with advanced illness often benefit greatly from specialized, compassionate care focused on managing their pain, stress and symptoms. In a broadening of their partnership, Morton Plant Mease Health Care and The Hospice of the Florida Suncoast have expanded the inpatient palliative care initiative currently offered at Morton Plant Hospital, Clearwater, and made it available at Mease Countryside Hospital, Safety Harbor and Mease Dunedin Hospital.

“Building on the success at Morton Plant, the expansion of the Palliative Care program with The Hospice to other Morton Plant Mease hospitals will allow us to reach out and support even more patients and their families with clinical, social and spiritual treatment,” said Philip K. Beauchamp, president and chief executive officer, Morton Plant Mease Health Care.

Patients who might benefit from palliative care may not have life-ending illnesses or conditions and may still seek curative treatment. Like The Hospice’s patients, they need relief from pain and suffering and a means to enhance quality of life, but unlike a hospice patient, may not be at end of life. Outstanding palliative care combines the efforts of board certified palliative care physicians, clergy and social workers in a team working to develop personalized care plans to be followed in conjunction with therapeutic treatment.

“It is gratifying that our partnership with Morton Plant Mease will extend to more patients in need of symptom management for illnesses and conditions, such as diabetes, chronic pain, dementia, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or congestive heart failure,” said Mary J. Labyak, president and executive director of The Hospice. “We are united in our commitment to the well-being and quality of life of patients and encouragement of their families.”

Any Morton Plant Mease patient with an advanced illness or one who has been newly diagnosed with a serious or potentially life-ending illness is a candidate for a palliative consult. The palliative care 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 The Hospice’s community-based palliative care services.

Palliative care consults are designed to help patients lessen feelings of anxiousness about their illness, become better informed and feel more in control of their own lives. As a result, they may be discharged from the hospital sooner and not need to be readmitted as frequently. Patients experience greater confidence in the kinds of care they receive and a stronger sense of hope, thus enhancing patient and family satisfaction.

The Palliative Care program is the second recent partnership effort between Morton Plant Mease and The Hospice of the Florida Suncoast. In October 2007, the two care providers joined together to make available the first of its kind Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) collaboration in the area. CPE is interfaith professional education for clergy and involves training student chaplains to better serve the spiritual needs of patients and families served by The Hospice and Morton Plant Mease Hospitals.

The Hospice of the Florida Suncoast is a not-for-profit agency committed to serving individuals and families as they face chronic illnesses, near the end of life, deal with end-of-life issues or are in grief. Community based, through its family of programs The Hospice of the Florida Suncoast offers comprehensive hospice and palliative care, caregiver education, individual and group counseling, spiritual support and many other services to the people of Pinellas County, Florida regardless of race, age, faith, diagnosis or financial circumstances. Founded in 1977 by volunteers, more than 2,500 patients and their families are served each day by The Hospice’s staff of professionals along with 3,000 dedicated volunteers. To learn more about The Hospice of the Florida Suncoast, call (727) 586-4432 or logon to

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.


Beth Hardy, Morton Plant Mease Health Care (727) 298-6199,

Louise I. Cleary, Director of Public Relations & Marketing, The Hospice of the Florida Suncoast (727) 523-3391,