Hospice of Northwest Ohio opens its second facility this week, and no one will breathe a bigger sigh of relief than Judy Mohr.
Starting in 2000 when the organization s original building in Perrysburg Township in Wood County developed a waiting list, Ms. Mohr has been telling families there s no room.
“Every year, we ve had people die while waiting to get in,” said Ms. Mohr, hospice nurse liaison. “On any given day we have 10 to 15 patients waiting, and last year we had to turn away 300 people.”
The space problem s solution is a $9.8 million stone and brick building with 24 patient rooms that s tucked into a wooded area along Swan Creek near the Medical College of Ohio. The 17-acre site, sold to the organization for $340,001 by MCO, is north of the intersection of Detroit and Arlington Avenues.
Hospice of Northwest Ohio opened its first hospice, a 25-bed facility on 20 acres, in 1995. With the new facility, the organization has become the only hospice program in Ohio to have two inpatient hospice buildings, according to Judy Seibenick, executive director for the nonprofit organization.
She said the hospice is about 60 percent of the way toward raising all the funds necessary to pay for the new building, and she s glad it s turned out so well.
“It s just great. We re thrilled,” Ms. Seibenick said. “It has a view from every pillow with lots of natural sunlight.”
Each room has floor-to-ceiling windows allowing light in, as well as giving patients a view of the natural landscape. The windows are just one touch, she added. Warm earth-tones abound, more than 50 donated quilts decorate patient rooms and walls, a donated grand piano sits in a lounge area near a fireplace, and the facility even has a dedicated room for a therapy dog.
Touches like this fit in with the hospice philosophy, Ms. Seibenick said. The goal of hospice - both in inpatient facilities and with the more common in-home hospice care - is to make sure patients are as comfortable as possible in their final days. To qualify for hospice care, patients must be diagnosed with a terminal illness and not be expected to live more than six months.
The facility s architect, Jim Faulkner of Dayton, specializes in building hospice facilities. He said he had lain on every bed himself to make sure the design came out just right.
“At the end of the day, I look back on [projects like this] and feel good about what I ve done. It s so rewarding,” he said last week as he oversaw finishing touches on the structure.
Hospice of Northwest Ohio serves Lucas County, northern Wood County, western Ottawa County, and part of Monroe County. It employs about 250 people, including 80 it hired to help staff the new building.
Most of the organization s patients - about 1,700 annually - are cared for through its in-home hospice program. However, Ms. Seibenick said some patients need care in a hospice facility because they are either too sick to be cared for at home, or don t have family members who can help.
She added that another benefit of a second facility is more training opportunities for MCO students. Currently, many MCO students train at the Perrysburg Township site, but the second site is only a short distance from MCO, and will allow the hospice to double the number of training opportunities for students.