Caring for a loved one and ensuring their remaining time is comfortable and meaningful can be a challenge for the whole family. The T. Boone Pickens Hospice and Palliative Care Center, which opened Feb. 15, aims to meet that challenge in an innovative and holistic way.
The center is the latest addition to Faith Presbyterian Hospice and Presbyterian Communities and Services, a faith-based, not-for-profit foundation. The care center offers a stand-alone inpatient hospice as an alternative to in-home hospice, nursing facilities, and hospitals. It will also provide transitional care for patients who wish to return home for hospice care.
The 53,388-square-foot center is located on a 9.3-acre campus at Merit Drive and Churchill Way in North Dallas. The park-like setting more resembles a resort than a medical facility. Meandering paved paths lead to meditative gardens, seating areas, and an outdoor amphitheater for lectures, events, and memorial services.
The center has 36 suites, which overlook a 5-acre lake and a fountain. Patients’ beds can easily be moved outdoors. In addition to round-the-clock medical care and support, patients have access to massage and music therapy. Other amenities accommodate the entire family, including sleeping areas, kitchenettes, laundry facilities, playrooms for children and teens, patient and family education, and bereavement support. The center will serve an estimated 1,200 patients and their families each year.
Plans to build the center have been in the works since 2008. The idea came about after former Presbyterian Communities and Services CEO Godwin Dixon experienced a difficult time with his mother’s care. Unable to control symptoms from her brain cancer at home, Dixon searched for hospice care in Dallas. He found the only options were skilled nursing facilities or hospitals.
T. Boone Pickens, for whom the center is named, provided the lead gift of $18.4 million to get the project started. The foundation has raised $42 million of the $43 million goal, with help from many donors including the Harold Simmons Foundation and the Hamon Charitable Foundation. Recent donations of more than $2.8 million were received from four Dallas families in January: $1 million from Sammye and Mike Myers, $344,500 from Charlotte Test (in addition to her previous $2.5 million donation), $1 million from the family of the late Don Hodges, and $500,000 from Margot and Ross Perot.
“Each donor has a unique connection to the center,” foundation spokesman Scott Tims said. “Some have had a personal experience with Faith Presbyterian Hospice, some have been affected by poor end-of-life experiences of a loved one and want to see others have a more positive experience, while others have been longtime supporters as volunteers, donors, or board members.”
Jannetta Lingle, a registered nurse, will serve as director of clinical services. The center has 85 staff members, with plans to add up to 80 employees after the initial ramp-up period. About 80 volunteers will also be available to help patients and families. The hope is eventually to have 150 dedicated volunteers.