Eustis, FL, September 11, 2019—VITAS® Healthcare, the nation’s leading provider of end-of-life care, has awarded a $75,000 grant to Lake-Sumter State College’s newly approved nursing program to reduce the financial burden for students in Lake and Sumter counties who pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Funds from the grant will be distributed over three years, with a $50,000 endowed scholarship for nursing students in financial need and $25,000 supporting education, training and a curriculum to increase students’ proficiency in end-of-life care.

“Providing nurses with end-of-life education will help more patients make the end-of-life transition with dignity, respect and family support,” said Mark Hayes, vice president of operations for VITAS in Lake-Sumter. “In a high-demand labor market for nurses, this grant has the potential to make a nursing career attainable for some truly talented students.”

“We are grateful for the gift from VITAS Healthcare to support the growing nursing programs at Lake-Sumter State College,” said Dr. Laura Byrd, vice president of institutional advancement and executive director, LSSC Foundation. “We look forward to continuing to work with VITAS to improve our programs and keep them aligned with industry trends.”

VITAS has provided hospice and palliative care services throughout Florida for more than 40 years. In Lake and Sumter counties, offices in Eustis and The Villages—the fastest-growing metro area in the United States—meet the growing need for quality end-of-life care. In every area that it serves, VITAS makes a dual commitment to provide high-quality care to patients and their families and to embed the company, its resources and employees into the fabric of the community.

VITAS provides outreach and education about end-of-life care and options, support groups, connections to community resources and patient-focused programs such as Paw Pals® pet visits, veterans support and massage therapy.

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