Hospice’s hope – Agency advances drive to raise money for a permanent home | TheUnion.com

Hospice’s hope – Agency advances drive to raise money for a permanent home

The spacious home proposed for Hospice of the Foothills is now $1 million closer to reality, and the public fund-raising campaign for the site is underway.

Hospice officials want to raise an additional $3 to $3.5 million to complete a campus with 12 patient suites, outpatient services and offices on five acres near Ridge Road and Main Street. The facility just outside of Grass Valley would have a greenbelt walking area and complement the group’s care currently administered in area homes.

“It’s the most exciting thing we’ve ever done,” said Dennis Fournier, executive director of Hospice of the Foothills. “We’re trying to strike the balance of what will fit into the community and what Hospice and patients really need.”

The timeline for the facility is to break ground in 2005 and move in 2006, Fournier said. Fund-raising consultant Karen Wood is looking for $1.8 million from the community in this phase of the funding campaign. The rest would come from further donations and Hospice reserves, Fournier said.

“It’s an alternative to what’s currently here,” Fournier said, pointing to overcrowded Hospice conditions on the back end of the Meeks Lumber building in Grass Valley.

“We want caregivers to stay with the patients in a home-like atmosphere. Sometimes there is no caregiver, or the caregiver is exhausted or there isn’t enough room (to handle a Hospice patient).”

The new location’s suites could provide that space and comfort level, he said.

“It feels like a home and not like a hospital room,” Fournier said of the suites, with sitting rooms, a bathroom, bed, sink and storage. “Of course, we would never give up our in-home care” given the past 25 years.

Fournier said Tom Mullinax of Asheboro, N.C., will design the site. Mullinax has been involved in building almost 20 hospice and day care buildings, 30 medical or retirement buildings and 15 others.

Mullinax’s firm is unique in its experience with hospices and its preliminary design directs care onto the patient while leaving room for caregivers to sit.

“We’ll build with local contractors,” Fournier said. “About a year ago, we visited hospice homes up and down California to come up with the best designs.”

“A hospice takes care of not only the person who is ill, but also the concerns of the family,” said Dr. Rudy Kimmich, who is helping to raise money for the Hospice board. Kimmich first became involved with Hospice during his 30 years in Nevada County as a physician.

The second part of the dream starts Oct. 9 with a gala kickoff dinner and music celebration at Alta Sierra Country Club.

The first $1 million private campaign toward the dream was boosted by one couple’s $150,000 contribution, Fournier said. Hospice does expect other locals to match that mark and is seeking any amount from $100,000 down to gifts in kind.

The building would be about 25,000 to 30,000 square feet and stand across the street from Jon Peek’s Grass Valley Veterinary Hospital on Rough and Ready Highway.

What is hospice?

A hospice is a facility or group of people who comfort the terminally ill in their final days, weeks or months. Hospice agencies such as Hospice of the Foothills strive to make the patient’s final days better by decreasing pain and increasing services for social and emotional aspects of the death. The care is often provided in the patient’s home but sometimes takes place at another location.

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