VITAS Innovative Hospice Care®, a pioneer and leader in the hospice movement since 1978, is the nation’s largest provider of end-of-life care. Headquartered in Miami, Florida, VITAS (pronounced VEE-tahs) operates 45 hospice programs in 16 states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin).
VITAS, which has evolved from its founding as a volunteer organization by a United Methodist minister and a registered nurse, today employs 9,061 professionals who care for terminally ill patients daily, primarily in the patients’ homes, but also in the company’s 24 inpatient hospice units as well as in hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living communities/residential care facilities for the elderly. At the conclusion of the third quarter of 2008, VITAS reported an average daily census of 12,012; VITAS served more than 66,000 patients throughout all of 2007. The name, VITAS (pronounced VEE-tahs), is derived from the Latin word for lives. It symbolizes the VITAS mission: To preserve the quality of life for those who have a limited time to live.
If, at some point, a patient needs more constant care, VITAS can provide shifts of hospice staff for a brief period to help the patient through this demanding time at home, rather than transferring the patient to a hospital. If a patient needs care beyond what can be provided at home, VITAS has special arrangements with local hospitals and other facilities where patients may receive necessary and appropriate care and return home as soon as possible.