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Hampton Roads’ first free-standing hospice house opens in Virginia Beach

The new Dozoretz Hospice House of Hampton Roads features 12 private rooms for patients as well as rooms for visitors to stay overnight. (Photo by Mechelle Hankerson)
The new Dozoretz Hospice House of Hampton Roads features 12 private rooms for patients as well as rooms for visitors to stay overnight. (Photo by Mechelle Hankerson)

The Dozoretz Hospice House of Hampton Roads, the region’s first free-standing hospice house, opened this week after a decade of planning and fundraising.

Dozoretz provides medical care and other support services for patients who are in the last months of their lives and their caretakers. Other hospice facilities that aren’t attached to hospitals, like the Hospice House of Williamsburg, aren’t medical facilities and don’t always provide onsite medical care.

“A community defines itself by how it takes care of people in need, and boy, [(we stepped) to the plate with this one, didn't we?” Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer said at a ribbon-cutting event.

“I am so jazzed that we are the trendsetter for this region with this facility.”

The 12-room Dozoretz House offers private rooms for patients with round-the-clock medical care. There are also rooms for family members to stay overnight, covered outdoor spaces and common areas for residents and visitors.

Westminster-Canterbury, which provides hospice care at its bayfront location in Virginia Beach, will provide medical staff at the Hospice House. Beth Sholom Assisted Living will help with administrative work, including Medicaid paperwork.

The city of Virginia Beach donated the land for the Dozoretz House and a board of directors raised the money to build the facility. That group included Terry Jenkins, a former city director of human services who herself was in hospice as she raised money. 

Jenkins died last summer, shortly before the Dozoretz House was able to celebrate a topping-off ceremony.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin attended the ribbon-cutting Tuesday and thanked city leaders for their role in helping the House come to fruition and the community members who formed the House’s founding boards and committees.

“I see that (the) Virginia Beach community stepped together in a way that is reflective of Virginia Beach …  a city council that did the right thing,” he said. 

“A group of truly generous individuals who stepped forward and said, ‘Is there anything more important than respecting this journey?’”

Youngkin said the House’s kitchen reminded him of a home, which would be important for families spending their last days with loved ones.

“I felt at home in that kitchen. … And I think that's exactly what everyone here was aspiring to do,” Youngkin said. “Yes, there are 12 private rooms, and there's 24-hour nursing and personal care. But we, most importantly, see rooms for overnight guests, where families can stay with their loved ones.”

The Dozoretz House doesn’t address all of the region’s hospice needs, according to estimations in Old Dominion University’s State of the Region 2023 report.

Researchers said there’s a need for 45 inpatient hospice beds across Hampton Roads on an average day. 

Hospice and end-of-life care facilities can have trouble turning profits on small scales. The Dozoretz House anticipates needing continued financial support from donations. 

Mechelle is News Director at WHRO. She helped launch the newsroom as a reporter in 2020. She's worked in newspapers and nonprofit news in her career. Mechelle lives in Virginia Beach, where she grew up.

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