BRISTOL, Tenn. - Bristol's Hospice house was the first free-standing hospice facility in Tennessee, and since that time they've not only improved patient care but the patient environment.
On Monday the Wellmont Hospice House celebrated the completion of their healing gardens that surround the building.
There's more behind a wall surrounding the Wellmont Hospice House than just a medical facility; the building is surrounded by beautiful gardens, all done through donations and volunteers.
On Monday a rededication of the completion of all the work was held as a celebration of providing the best end of life care both medically and spiritually. "I think for a lot of patients and a lot of families to be able to look at a pastoral scene, I've seen hospices that have a wall painted like that, but to have a pastoral scene like this is just a part of being where they are. Not just for the patients but the families as well," retired medical director Dr. Ben Cowan said.
It's much more than just a place to sit away from the clinical setting inside; it holds a certain symbolic meaning for those who visit. "Hospice really is all about the seasons of life. The journeys that we take and even though there may be times when things are not quite right, there's an opportunity of things to bloom again," said Jackie Everett, hospice clinical leader.
"Before it was a place where people go to die, and its no longer like that. It's where they go to experience the best that they can in the last of what have of life," Dr. Cowan's wife Ann added.
The gardens are designed so that even the patients can get out and enjoy the beauty. "We recently did have patient in a wheelchair and he just found so much solace in being able to come out and actually touch and pick the flowers. It gave him an opportunity to have conversations with his family that he may not have had," Everett said.
It's the perfect spot for reflection, thought and just pure enjoyment, and the volunteers are already making plans on how to improve it.