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New unit serves dementia patients

The Lavender Cottage is licensed to give care beyond what many assisted living facilities may provide.

By JIM ROSS

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 4, 2000


CITRUS SPRINGS -- The Cottages of Gentle Breeze, an assisted living facility in north-central Citrus, has opened a new, nine-bed unit designed to help patients who suffer from severe dementia.

This unit, called the Lavender Cottage, offers extended congregate care, which means the staff is licensed to provide extra care, particularly some nursing services, beyond what a typical assisted living facility may provide. In the past, many residents who needed that kind of assistance had to enter a nursing home.

Maria Schmidt, the administrator at Gentle Breeze, said Lavender Cottage offers a good staff-to-patient ratio and on-site physician care. The interior design is geared to helping patients with dementia.

Gentle Breeze opened in August 1997. It is a series of cottages, each of which is designed to help a particular type of patient.

News and notes

RED CROSS SEEKS HELP: Hurricane season started last week, and the Citrus-Hernando chapter of the American Red Cross wants to be ready.

Toward that end, the chapter is seeking volunteers to join its disaster services program, which kicks into gear whenever a major storm heads this way.

Volunteers operate shelters and assist clients during major disasters. Basic training is provided.

Meetings for volunteers are at 6 p.m. the second Wednesday of each month at the Red Cross service center, 7449 Gulf to Lake Highway (State Road 44), Unit 3, Crystal River. A basic introduction to disaster services course is scheduled for 9 a.m. June 17 at the service center.

For information, call 564-8455.

PROVIDERS TO HEAR FROM MEDICARE: The federal agency that administers Medicare is sending a letter to more than 800,000 doctors, suppliers and home health agencies seeking help in assuring that Medicare pays correctly for services.

In its letter, the Health Care Financing Administration cites common payment errors and asks the providers to prevent such errors by providing adequate documentation. The agency also plans to set up toll-free hot lines for providers with Medicare questions and to test new, simplified guidelines for providers to use.

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