Milford Wellness Village continues to expand the services offered to the community with a new 14-bed ventilation unit which will see its first patient on Tuesday, July 5. Spiritus Ventilator Unit offers 14 beds in both semi-private and private settings for those who need assistance with breathing. According to Margii Hassman, manager of the unit, the area is designed for those who will be on ventilators for longer times.
“This is life support, and they can only be in the hospital for so long,” Hassman said. “When they are discharged from the hospital, they can’t really go home because their families are not aware how to take care of them and some of them still have a lot of medical conditions that need to be addressed. So, they come to a facility like this where we can continue the care that they need. Families can come in and out to visit them and be part of their healing process. And if we can wean them off the ventilator, we will. If we can’t, we will education the family on how to care for the patient at home.”
Hassman explained that referrals are made to the unit by hospital case managers and a review committee team determines whether the unit can provide the services that patient needs.
“This is the only unit of its type in lower Delaware,” Hassman explained. “The closest one to us is Wilmington, Pike Creek. When you have a loved one who is on a ventilator and cannot come off, but the hospital says they must be moved, going home is often not an option. Caring for someone one a ventilator is a lot of work. They need 24 hour a day, seven day a week care. You can’t leave your home. If we have a family that is insistent, they want to take someone home to care for them, we won’t stop them from doing so, but I don’t sugarcoat anything. I am very honest with them about how much work this will be. If they still want to do it, we will do everything we can to help them.”
Spiritus chose to locate in the Milford Wellness Village due to the proximity to Polaris, although there currently do not have patients on ventilators in their facility. Should someone at Polaris need a ventilator, the unit would be available to assist them. Because the building was a hospital not that long ago, the fact that this part of the building was an intensive care unit was also a beneft as there was already oxygen, suction and other infrastructure that the ventilator unit would need.
One of the obstacles that faced the unit was staffing which Hassman explained was an issue for healthcare of all types. The unit is fully staffed at this time, and they are looking forward to serving the needs of patients in the community.