EL DORADO, Ark. (KTVE/KARD) — On Friday, the SHARE Foundation announced that the John R. Williamson Hospice House will no longer be accepting new patients after May 15, 2023.

The Williamson Hospice House was initially constructed as a 16-bed unit but the facility has never been fully utilized. In 2018, eight of its 16 beds were closed and has only used an eight-bed unit ever since.

The use of the hospice house continued to trend downward during and since the COVID-19 pandemic according to the SHARE Foundation.

At this time, the hospice house only averages around two patients per day. Occasionally there is just one patient in the house or the house has to shut down because of a scarcity of patients.

Medicare has pushed to provide more care in the home, rather than an inpatient setting, according to a press release. As a result, homecare hospices have increased, while inpatient hospices have decreased.

Due to the low usage, Life Touch Hospice will shift inpatient care from the John R. Williamson Hospice House to the hospital settings.

Life Touch currently has inpatient partnership with the Bradley County Medical Center and the Magnolia Regional Medical Center.

The SHARE Foundation will formulate ways to utilize the existing building in a way that could be helpful to the community.

In Life Touch Hospice’s five-county service area, the hospice program will continue to provide homecare hospice.