Ground broken for Hospice’s future site
Dignitaries in hard hats dug shovels into the ground while tractors rumbled across mountains of dirt Friday during a ceremony at the future site of the Hospice Home.
The 28,500-square-foot home for terminally ill patients will feature 12 suites with living room areas, private baths and a community kitchen, as well as outdoor trails and gardens.
The idea is to create a home-like environment where people can live and wrap up the loose ends of their life while giving family caregivers a break.
“Caregivers are getting few and far between,” said Hospice of the Foothills Executive Director Dennis Fournier. “It’s an exhausting thing,”
The group still has a long way to go before it has collected sufficient funds for the construction. The group has raised $2 million for the project with an estimated price tag of $6 million.
“The building is going to cost more than expected,” said Fournier, who hopes subcontractors will shave off an additional 5 to 10 percent in donated labor. The house should be complete by the second half of next year, he said.
Developer Phil Lester donated the five acres for the project last fall after the group searched several years for affordable property. The land is located in a visible forested location on the Rough and Ready Highway.
“Without him I don’t know what we would have done,” Fournier said.
Since 1979, Hospice of the Foothills has provided “death with dignity” in the county with free nursing and social, spiritual and home health services.
The group serves an average of 70 patients each month and has seen an increase during the past five years, said Fournier.
“We’ve had people say the dying process was the best part of their lives,” Fournier said.
California Sen. Sam Aanestad spoke of his family’s personal experience with hospice care in Madison, Wis., when his uncle was dying.
“There is no way my family could have taken care of (uncle) Jim the way hospice did,” Aanestad said.
Two years ago, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger approved a bill introduced by Aanestad that increased the number of beds allowed at congregate living health facilities from six to 12.
“For patients that don’t have a caregiver, this facility will be a godsend,” said longtime volunteer Donna Carver. Her husband received in-home hospice care at the end of his life. “They took care of things that I couldn’t do,” she said.
Visit http://www.hospiceofthefoothills.org to learn more about Hospice of the Foothills.
To contact Staff Writer Laura Brown, e-mail laurab@ theunion.com or call 477-4231.
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