Construction, furnishing and decorating are complete, and now all thats needed to open Hospice of Jefferson County at Ellis Farms is final approval from the state.
Hospice CEO Stephen P. Lyman said within the next couple of days, Hospice will be ready for the state Department of Health to complete a preoccupancy inspection so the eight-bed residence can begin admitting patients early next month. The residence is at 1398 Gotham St.
All of our volunteers, board members and staff are excited how this has come out, Mr. Lyman said. Its not about the building; its about being able to provide better care, so were anxious to get to that work.
Under the current system, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and case managers go into Hospice patients homes to provide care for them in the last days of their lives. Bereavement counselors and therapists visit as needed. That care, Mr. Lyman said, is not around-the-clock, but when patients enter the residence, they will have 24-hour care.
Mr. Lyman said people may receive Hospice care once they have a diagnosis of six months or less to live. He said a diagnosis is just that, and some Hospice patients may go on to receive care for more than a year, but the average time a Hospice patient is cared for is 50 days.
He said he has read board minutes from as far back as the mid-1990s, which detailed board members desire to open a residential facility such as Hospice of Jefferson County at Ellis Farms.
There are parents of Jefferson County residents in other states, and weve had inquiries that when we open theyd like to bring their mom or dad back home, Mr. Lyman said.
Aside from the eight Hospice beds, there are utility and laundry rooms, several office spaces, common spaces and a board/community room. Each patient room also has a sleeper sofa, to provide family and other visitors a place to stay with their loved ones. There are also other accommodations, including shared spaces such as a living room and kitchen that visitors may use.
The warm color scheme of earth tones creates a home-like environment, which Mr. Lyman said is the goal in a Hospice residence setting.
Several new full-time employees have been hired, and the agency is looking for part-time and per diem staff members.
Since the organization relies heavily on volunteers, Mr. Lyman said, more volunteers will be needed to assist with cooking, laundry and landscaping. People interested in volunteering at the residence can call him at 788-7323.
The $4.3 million project was made possible through agency fundraising and a $3.3 million state grant, which was requested through former state Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine. Mr. Lyman said about $1.2 million has been raised thus far from community members and organizations.
Now were working on sustainment funding, because we recognize residences most likely operate on a deficit, Mr. Lyman said.
Sustainment funding, he said, would not have been possible without the help of the Northern New York Community Foundation, which provided a $50,000 grant to furnish the facility, and a $100,000 grant to be invested as part of an endowment for Hospice to cover shortfalls in operating the residence.
Hospice of Jefferson County will have a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 1:30 p.m. today, and community tours from 2 to 7 p.m.