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Press Releases

Holy Name Medical Center Opens Villa Marie Claire

Date: 2/1/2011

First residential hospice in the region, offering overnight accommodations for loved ones and interspiritual/intercultural focus

Saddle River, NJ - Villa Marie Claire, the first freestanding, residential hospice in Northern New Jersey, and one of only a few in the state, accepted its first patients in mid-January at its 26-acre facility in Saddle River. The 20-bed manor for comprehensive end-of-life care is the most recent development from Holy Name Medical Center's Hospice and Palliative Services program, which emphasizes a holistic approach to achieving quality of life for people with advanced terminal illness.

According to Michael Maron, President/CEO, Holy Name Medical Center, Villa Marie Claire "is like no other hospice in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area. It is innovative; truly, one-of-a-kind."

"Everything about the Villa," says Mr. Maron, "from its family-focused philosophy and interfaith/intercultural educated healthcare team to its overnight accommodations for family members, speaks to a profound belief that quality can be achieved at every stage of life, regardless of an individual's medical diagnosis or physical and cognitive abilities."

Focus on comfort and inner peace

According to HNMC's Jean Leone, Executive Director and Clinical Administrator, Hospice and Palliative Services and Villa Marie Claire, hospice emphasizes living well during the final months, weeks or days of an individual's life. "The goal of hospice," explains Ms. Leone, "is to create and foster a pain-free and peaceful existence through symptom management and a compassionate presence so that this part of an individual's life may be spent with dignity and comfort." She adds that patients, caretakers, loved ones, even cherished pets, all work as partners in realizing a patient's wishes at the Villa.

Villa Marie Claire's interfaith- and intercultural approach to care is a unique feature, and integral to the Villa's mission. "Our interdisciplinary team is educated and focused conceptually on interfaith and interspiritual traditions," notes Ms. Leone. "Our sanctuary is a place where anyone, no matter their beliefs or cultural mores, can feel welcome. This allows those who are apprehensive about coming to the hospice setting to feel understood and to experience peace."

In conjunction with pain and symptom management, the Villa will offer a broad range of integrative therapies, including massage, art therapy, pet therapy, music therapy, aromatherapy, horticulture therapy and Reiki.

A home-like environment

At Villa Marie Claire, high ceilings and wood floors, hospitable furnishings and fireplaces, and the availability of both intimate and community spaces for socializing and consultation, create an elegant, homelike ambiance in direct contrast to the sterility of a hospital or traditional clinical setting. There are views of the estate grounds from every room in the manor, and every patient bed faces a window.

The Villa is the only residential hospice in the area with overnight accommodations for loved ones. Bright, well-appointed guest rooms have the feel of a bed-and-breakfast inn, while offering amenities such as flat-screen TV, Internet connection and telephone. A separate kitchen and living area allows family and other members of the patient's support system to prepare special meals or socialize among themselves. There is an inground pool adjacent to the backyard patio, which will open seasonally for use by patients and visitors, and all are invited to enjoy the fields and gardens.

Dispelling myths associated with end-of-life

In addition to providing patient care and support to family, caregivers and significant others, the Villa Marie Claire's mission includes educating individuals and the professional healthcare community about end-of-life issues and functioning as a resource for interspiritual and multicultural matters, as they relate to hospice and palliative care. One aspect of this commitment is to dispel myths associated with hospice care and end-of-life.

One such misconception is that hospice hastens death. Another presumption is that dying must be a fear-filled, lonely process in which the individual loses hope and all sense of personal control. But according to national studies, patients receiving hospice care often live longer because of increased physical comfort, holistic care of body, mind and spirit, and the sense of relief that a burden has been lifted from family and loved ones.

"People who are terminally ill can still be effective," says Charles Vialotti, MD, Medical Director of Villa Marie Claire. "They can make decisions. They can participate in family life. In a nurturing environment where palliative care is accepted, patients live better and often longer, and family members are able to comes to terms with what's happening."

For more information about Villa Marie Claire, call 201-783-8870 or email

Family Room

Sunshine is abundant in the family room, where patients and loved ones can enjoy one another's company outside of the patient's room.


Villa Marie Claire's interfaith sanctuary is a peaceful place for prayer and reflection.

Patient Room

Each of the 20 patient rooms combines the ambiance of a residential bedroom with the peace-of-mind of a specialized care team just steps away.

Guest Room

Villa Marie Claire is the region's only residential hospice with overnight accommodations for loved ones. Bright, well-appointed guest rooms capture the look and feel of a bed and breakfast inn, while offering amenities such as flat-screen TV, Internet connection and telephone. A kitchen dedicated to the family wing affords the opportunity to cook a favorite meal.


A corner near the fireplace provides a cozy setting for reading, conversation or contemplation.