Hospice of the Bluegrass Mountain Community will be opening their newly built Hospice Care Center located in Hazard in May, and excitement about what the facility is going to provide for people within the region is high.
“When we started our care center a couple of years ago, one of the main reasons we wanted to do that is there is not another freestanding hospice care center in our region right now,” said Kim Eldridge, development officer for Hospice of the Bluegrass Mountain Community. “Right now, without this care center, [patients] would have to go to Lexington or someplace farther, and this will allow them to stay here at home.”
Eldridge said the new center will serve patients from all over the region and hospice will continue to provide their home program.
Once operational, the center will provide a comfortable setting for patients and their families, Eldridge said, pointing out that in the 12 patient suites, patients will find vaulted ceilings, privates baths and even couches that fold out into beds for family members to sleep on. Each suite has a private patio onto which beds can be wheeled so patients can enjoy the view, she said. She said on each patient wing, there are common areas, like a family and dining room. There is also a family lounge with a working fireplace.
“I can’t even tell you how beautiful [the center] is,” Eldridge said. “People that have visited there have said they can’t believe something that beautiful is here; but it’s here and we’re just really happy that Hospice of the Bluegrass decided to bring it here.”
She said the facility will also provide an opportunity for job-growth in the community. Hospice Mountain Community currently employs about 75 people. Eldridge estimates that once the new care center is opened, that number could double.
There are also options for expansion of the facility in the future, she said. If all 12 beds the facility provides become full, another six-bed wing could be built bringing the total capacity of the facility up to 18.
Eldridge said she is grateful for all the support this project has seen from the community it will serve. The county and city governments of Perry County and neighboring counties have shown great support for the facility, she said.
People in the community have donated money and made memorial contributions to Hospice of the Bluegrass Mountain Community, and because of this, Eldridge said no one has to pay for services at the care center, even if they don’t have any form of health insurance.
“We never don’t accept patients because [they don’t have insurance],” Eldridge said. “They won’t see a bill from us.”
She said what makes hospice employees the most excited about the new care center is that this facility will serve their home community.
“What makes us really happy about it is it’s something that our people here are going to benefit from, and the families are going to benefit from instead of them having to take three hours to drive somewhere else, they can stay right here,” Eldridge said.
She added that Hospice of the Bluegrass is one of the top hospice organizations in the nation, and she felt this was because the employees make their experience with patients very personal.
“[Employees] really, really, really love patients. They love them. They love their families and I think they feel for them,” Eldridge said. “I’ve been told to work for hospice, you’ve really got to love it. You’ve really got to care about people and you’ve got to care about their family.”
Hospice of the Bluegrass Mountain Community is being sponsored through the month of April by Amish Deli and Health Treasures. Money can be donated to hospice there and a percentage of certain items bought at the store with be donated directly to hospice.
The new hospice care center in Hazard will host a grand opening event on May 3 beginning at 2 p.m. Presentations will be made and tours of the facility will be given at this event, and Eldridge said everyone in the community is welcome to attend.