By Sam Wildow
TROY — Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County is finishing up the last touches to its new Hospice House on the Upper Valley Medical Center (UVMC) campus in Troy this month.
Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County will serve hospice patients from Miami, Shelby, and Darke counties at its new 31,180 square foot Hospice House starting in August. The facility includes 12 patient care rooms, a community room, administrative offices and space, an interfaith chapel, a spa room, and additional spaces to meet the needs of patients and their families.
Carey Short, executive director of Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County, explained the new Hospice House will be available to patients in need of a higher-level of care than they can receive at home.
“Our goal with this building is to provide that superior care and (provide) symptom management care for patients while they’re on hospice services,” Short said. She said, at this new facility, they hope to live out the mission of Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County, which is ”to celebrate the lives of those we have the privilege of serving by providing superior care and superior services to each patient and family.”
Construction on the new Hospice House began in January 2020, and Bruns General Contracting was the contractor for this $12 million campaign project.
Short said Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County opened its current space inside UVMC in 2014, which includes seven patient beds. She said they consistently filled up those beds, so the organization looked to expand and build its own, free-standing Hospice House.
“Knowing that we have more and more people aging and unfortunately more people with terminal illnesses that need the great care that hospice provides, expanding and having more beds and availability is huge for this area, as well as the ability to provide respite care,” Short said.
Short explained it can be exhausting at times for families who are caring for their loved ones at home, so patients can stay short-term at the new facility.
“Sometimes they just need a few days break, so the patient could come here for a few days for a respite while the family is able to take care of some things at home or just have a few days to themselves to care for them,” Short said. “It’s so important for our families to take care of themselves so they can help take care of their loved ones. And more and more people we’re seeing want to stay in their homes during this time, so we also provide that support in the homes at partner facilities in the community.”
The new facility was designed with the goal of creating a home-like atmosphere as much as possible, while also still providing patients access to state-of-the-art equipment.
“You don’t want a hospital feel,” Short said. One of the ways they do this at the new facility is by using artwork to cover some of the equipment, like oxygen machines, on the walls when that equipment is not in use.
The patient rooms include space for families in each room, including furniture that allows a family member to spend the night with their loved one. The patient rooms also have doors that access the outside of the facility, and the patient beds can fit through those doors if the patients want to be taken outside.
“That’s a huge quality of life for them — getting outside,” Short said. Patios outside the patient rooms include gardens, and there is also an outdoor space that includes a tranquil reflection area.
The facility also includes a spa room for patients to receive special therapies, a spa bath, hair treatments, and more.
A number of spaces for families of patients are included in the new facility, including a kitchen and dining area, an activities room for children, a small library, a washer and dryer, showers, and more so families can stay and spend time with their loved ones without having to leave the facility as often. One of those spaces includes a lounge area called “Steven’s Room,” which was donated by the Lukens family in memory of their son, Steven. The lounge includes a fire place, fish tanks, and a seating area for families to gather in a home-like setting.
“This space — they really wanted it to be family-like for people to have time to play games and just spend time together,” Short said.
The Hospice House also includes an interfaith chapel for families to utilize for prayer, meditation, celebration, and services, as well as a space for Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County to conduct its annual butterfly release.
On the administrative side of the Hospice House, there is shared office space for hospice staff and volunteers to utilize, which has been open to staff since April.
“Most of our staff is in the field,” Short said. Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County serves approximately 150 patients daily.
The facility’s community room also seats approximately 100 people. Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County plans to use it for staff meetings and training.
The new Hospice House also includes the Pathways of Hope Community Bereavement Center, which will hold resources for those who are grieving.
Short said Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County has the ability to add on to this facility in the future if needed.
Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County, an affiliate of Ohio’s Hospice, has been serving patients in Miami County and surrounding areas since 1983. The not-for-profit hospice is dedicated to improving the quality of life for those facing life-limiting illnesses. Its care has earned recognition from the prestigious Hospice Honors program of HEALTHCARE first and Deyta Analytics.