Once complete, the Hospice House will be an acute care, inpatient facility that is specifically designed to address the requirements and requests of patients facing end-of-life scenarios. Healthcare professionals will provide pain management, symptom control and medical procedures in a safe, home-like setting where families and friends are encouraged to visit.
“Seven years ago the Board of Trustees first entertained the idea of a Hospice House. We knew from the start that this was not going to be a service line that would generate a strong profit … Rather, we felt this was something that would meet a community need for the entire area,” said Steve Owens, Board Chairman, in his opening remarks to the attendees.
Recent heavy rainfall forced the event to be moved inside Westside Baptist Church, located just down the road from the proposed site.
“Despite the wet ground outside, I can tell you that the collective Calloway county and Murray city spirits are not dampened inside this building,” said Jerry Penner, MCCH CEO. “Although today is but a snapshot in time, this is a remarkable moment. It denotes our promise to continue to move this project forward … Upon my arrival in 2011, our Board of Trustees gave me a charge and that was to get this project done and I don’t plan on resting until we deliver on that promise.”
The Hospice House is an extension of the existing Hospice program at MCCH, which has been in existence since 1981. In 1979, Nadine Turner, Director of Nursing, first approached hospital administration about starting a Hospice program. Soon, Dr. Ruth Cole was hired to establish the program and began hosting training sessions.
Since then, the program has grown and expanded to what it is today. The current staff represents 70 years of combined experience and served 154 patients and their families in the last year.
“Today is truly a very special day, not only for the hospice patients and their families but for the community as a whole and the hospital,” said Sherri Boyd, MCCH Hospice Coordinator. “This Hospice House means that we will be able to care for people who are on that very difficult journey at the end of their lives in a home-like place. We will be able to care for their families and we will be able to comfort and care for the patients that up to this point have had to die in the hospital or go to a nursing facility. The fact that this community has given so very much to make this a reality is a huge responsibility and the Hospice staff takes that very seriously. We will do our very best to honor the patients and their families that are cared for here.”
The $3.5 million needed for the Hospice House was solely provided by donations, collected through the Murray Calloway Endowment for Healthcare. A six-year fundraising effort was spearheaded by the Endowment and included a mix of grants, private donations, fundraisers and events such as the annual Murray Half Marathon.
This is the first major project at MCCH, a public, not-for-profit city and county-owned hospital, to ever be funded completely through philanthropic donations. An anonymous donor kicked things off with a hefty $1.5 million pledge, and the rest came in many forms from more than 7,000 donors.
“Today we stand on the brink of the largest philanthropic project ever undertaken by the hospital,” said Keith Travis, Vice President of Development. “It is what makes our mission unique and distinctive today in the world of for-profit and not-for-profit hospitals. We have waited for, worked for and prayed for this day.”
After the remarks concluded, attendees gathered outside for the ceremonial groundbreaking. Special commemorative tiles were handed out, crafted by members of the Stroke/Head Injury Support Group.
The future Anna Mae Owen Residential Hospice House will be built to include private rooms with private baths, a memory garden, private patios for each patient room, kitchen, family room, laundry facilities and a family conference room.
The philosophy surrounding hospice care is to focus on the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of patients and families as they face the challenges of end-of-life issues. Currently, MCCH healthcare professionals and trained volunteers deliver a vast majority of this care in the patient’s home, whether that is a private residence, an assisted living facility or a nursing home. Hospice staff employs 4 full time and 2 part time nurses, 1 full time and 1 part time aide, and 1 full time social worker, dietitians, a chaplain and therapists. However, it is also supported by numerous community volunteers who give their time to visit with patients and their families.For more information or to donate to support the operation of the Anna Mae Owen Residential Hospice House, call (270) 762-1908.
Information provided by Kyser Lough
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