July 26, 2011 in Idaho

Hospice residence to open in Coeur d’Alene

By The Spokesman-Review
Kathy Plonka photoBuy this photo

Kim Ransier, director of operations for Hospice of North Idaho, delivers donated artwork to the Hospice House in Coeur d’Alene on Monday. The new facility expects to start accepting patients in mid-August.
(Full-size photo)

Hospice dedication

The public is invited to a community dedication of Idaho’s first Hospice House today from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at 2290 W. Prairie Ave. in Coeur d’Alene. Tours and light refreshments will follow.

Landscapers on Monday were planting maple trees outside Idaho’s first residential Hospice House in anticipation of a community dedication of the Coeur d’Alene facility tonight.

Following a year of construction, Hospice House at Hummingbird Fields will welcome its first patients in mid-August. The 14,000-square-foot building at 2290 W. Prairie Ave. offers 14 patient rooms, two of which adjoin other rooms and can be used by family members wishing to stay with loved ones.

The lodge-style building with high ceilings, big windows and warm colors was designed to be welcoming to all, said Amanda Miller, Hospice’s director of community development. It has two kitchens, one commercial and one for families, an activity room for children, gathering places for families, a nursing station, pharmacy, and gardens providing peaceful views from every patient room.

“This place is as much about the families and the loved ones as it is about the person who is ill,” Miller said.

The house will offer care for terminally ill patients in a variety of situations, Miller said. That includes respite care for patients whose caregivers need time to themselves. It will provide a place for a patient’s health to stabilize following, for example, a hospital stay. And its doors will be open to patients whose care can’t be managed at home.

Hospice care frequently is covered through Medicare or Medicaid, but no one will be turned away for inability to pay, Miller said.

In a “meditation room” named for the late Rev. Bill Wassmuth, a Hospice founding board member, a painting called “Holy Darkness,” by his widow, Mary Francis, decorates one wall. Visible through the large picture window in the garden outside, a stone wall is covered by a colorful mosaic called “Sunset,” by local artist Jan Wilhelmi.

Kim Ransier, director of operations, said Hospice hired 10 additional people to staff the building round-the-clock.

Only about half the patient rooms are being furnished immediately with the rest to be completed as demand requires, Miller said. The bed in each finished bedroom is topped with a colorful quilt, handmade by volunteers.

“We just have such a sense of community here,” Ransier said.

After the house opens, Hospice officials will talk with patients and their families to see if some would benefit from being at Hospice House right now. The house serves Idaho’s four northern counties, but Ransier said she expects it to attract attention from, and be visited by, Hospice organizations nationwide.

The total project cost was $4.35 million, which includes the land, construction and soft costs, such as engineering and architecture fees. Most of that was paid through community donations, Hospice officials have said. Fundraising will continue until a tax-free bond is paid off, Miller said.

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