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IRSC Receives $85,000 from VITAS Healthcare for Hospice Simulation Technology

IRSC Receives $85,000 from VITAS Healthcare for Hospice Simulation Technology

May 28, 2020 Crystal Decker

Thanks to a donation from VITAS Healthcare, students who pursue nursing certifications and degrees at Indian River State College (IRSC) now have the benefit of learning about physiology and end-of-life care with CAE Apollo, high-fidelity, wireless technology that simulates an adult patient and a hospice room.

IRSC Receives $85,000 from VITAS Healthcare for Hospice Simulation Technology

Susan Acocella (left), general manager for VITAS Healthcare, presents a check on Thursday, May 21, to IRSC President Dr. Edwin Massey shown with Linda Hudson (right), City of Fort Pierce Mayor and 2018 IRSC Distinguished Alumni honoree.

Purchase of the METIman patient manikin is made possible by an $85,000 gift from VITAS, the nation’s leading provider of end-of-life care based in the Treasure Coast since mid-2019. Susan Acocella, general manager for VITAS, presented the check on Thursday, May 21, to IRSC President Dr. Edwin Massey.

“VITAS is proud to support the next generation of healthcare and hospice professionals,” said Acocella. “With a growing focus on compassionate end-of-life care, this kind of technology exposes students to patient symptoms and end-of-life scenarios that are instructive, safe, and as real as possible. Providing this technology is one way that we can contribute to students’ understanding and delivery of empathetic hospice care.”

Easily configurable for nursing and pre-hospital programs, CAE Apollo will be used at the IRSC Nursing Lab at the Pruitt Campus in Port St. Lucie for individual and team training. The wireless simulator exhibits realistic patient behaviors and responses. Easily moved from classroom to nursing labs, the manikin can be used for large presentations or smaller, in-depth demonstrations of nursing encounters and skills.  

"We are grateful for the investment that VITAS is making in our nursing program," said Ann Decker, IRSC Foundation Executive Director. "Thanks to their generosity, learning will be further enhanced with immersive and true end-of-life patient encounter experiences, provided by a high-fidelity human-patient simulator and a simulated in-patient hospice room."

VITAS provides care to hospice patients and families throughout St. Lucie, Martin, and Okeechobee counties from its offices in Stuart and Port St. Lucie. IRSC provides traditional and remote learning for students in the same three Treasure Coast counties plus Indian River County.

About VITAS® Healthcare
Established in 1978, VITAS Healthcare is a pioneer and leader in the American hospice movement. Headquartered in Miami, Florida, VITAS (pronounced VEE-tahs) operates 48 hospice programs in 14 states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin) and the District of Columbia. VITAS employs 12,262 professionals who care for patients with advanced illness daily, primarily in the patients’ homes, and also in the company’s 27 inpatient hospice units as well as in hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living communities/residential care facilities for the elderly. At the conclusion of the first quarter of 2020, VITAS reported an average daily census of 19,215. Visit

About Indian River State College      
A leader in education and innovation, Indian River State College (IRSC) transforms lives by offering high quality, affordable and accessible education to the residents of Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee and St. Lucie counties through traditional and online delivery. IRSC is recipient of the 2019 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges. The College serves nearly 30,000 students annually and offers more than 100 programs leading to Bachelor’s degrees, Associate degrees, technical certificates and applied technology diplomas. For more information, visit or call 1-866-792-4772.

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