Since Capital Hospice began offering services to people with terminal illnesses in Loudoun County more than 35 years ago, it has focused on delivering end-of-life care and comfort to patients in their homes.

That will change next month, when the nonprofit company, now called Capital Caring, fully opens the Adler Center for Caring on the Van Metre Campus in southeastern Loudoun. The center will offer a broader range of palliative care, including inpatient hospice services, as well as pain and symptom management, company officials said.

“There is potential for great good to happen here,” said Michael Byas-Smith, the center’s medical director.

The center, which has been under construction for about two years, is on a four-acre site in the Stone Ridge development. The $15 million facility was financed entirely through donations, including a $3 million contribution by Len Adler, said Malene Davis, Capital Caring’s chief executive. The land was donated by Stone Ridge developer Al Van Metre.

Capital Caring moved its outpatient hospice services to the Adler Center in March, said Linda Rawlett, the center’s general manager. The center serves currently about 300 patients in their homes, including nursing homes and assisted-
living facilities, with a staff of 180. Those numbers will grow as the center expands its services, she said.

The Adler Center will be the first inpatient hospice facility in Loudoun, company officials said. Previously, the closest inpatient facilities were in Arlington County and Martinsburg, W.Va.

Davis said that the inpatient wing will open next month; the date has not been determined. It will have 14 beds in private rooms and will eventually be able to add seven additional beds in another wing. Amenities will include flat-screen televisions in the private rooms, a kitchen where families can gather, a children’s playroom and rooms for doctors and other staff members to counsel patients and their family members, she said.

The center has recruited about 100 volunteers to help in many ways, including baking cookies and greeting families at the main entrance, Davis said. “We want it to be an experience where people come in the door, they’re greeted, they’re helped, they feel tender loving care from the minute they step through the door,” she said.

Perry Fine, a strategic adviser for Capital Caring, said the center will offer a full range of palliative services, including intervention services for patients who need a higher level of pain management. Conventional pain medications “just don’t cut it” for 20 to 40 percent of patients with advanced illnesses, he said.

Byas-Smith said that although most of the center’s patients will have advanced illnesses, they might have many years of functional life ahead of them. In addition to relieving patients’ pain, he said, “we’re thinking about the other things that are impacting your capacity to participate in life fully.”

“Medicine got pretty good at dealing with acute illness, but was late to the table dealing with things that contribute to the quality of life,” Fine said. “It takes a team to deal with the complexities of growing old in this society.”

Company officials said that most patients are referred to the Adler Center by their physicians, and that the center will accept patients and provide care whether they have insurance or not. “We have committed ourselves to be able to provide care to anyone regardless of their ability to pay, or insurance type,” Davis said.

Many people have misconceptions about hospice care, which is still a relatively new concept in this country, she said. Capital Caring has been in business since 1977, shortly after modern approaches to hospice care came “across the pond” from England, she said.

“I like to say that hospice is the best-kept secret,” Rawlett said. “What we want to do is share our secret, and not have it be a secret anymore.”

Jim Barnes is a freelance writer.