Plans are underway to build Thurston County’s first in-patient hospice care center.
Providence Health & Services wants to build the 20-bed facility in the 4800 block of College Street near the organization’s chemical dependency center in Lacey. The proposed single-story building would measure about 18,000 square feet.
If all goes according to plan, the hospice project would break ground in 2017 with a goal of opening by summer 2018.
In-patient hospice care provides treatment for terminal patients whose pain and symptoms can’t be managed at home or in an assisted-living facility. Patients would stay an average of three to four days to get those things under control before returning home, said Catherine Koziar, director of hospice for Providence SoundHomeCare and Hospice.
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Providence now provides that care at St. Peter Hospital or sends clinicians to see hospice patients at home. The proposed hospice center will be more “home-like” than a hospital with amenities such as a kitchen and gathering space for families and children.
“Having a setting that provides that high level of expert hospice care in a setting that’s very supportive to patients and family is a real strong development for our community,” Koziar said. “It will be a really nice, quiet setting.”
The hospice care center’s service area will cover Thurston, Mason and Lewis counties. Until then, the closest in-patient hospice care is available in Pierce County to the north and Cowlitz County to the south.
Peg Rutchik, vice president of hospice services for Providence, said most patients would prefer to die at home or in a home-like setting like the one proposed for the future care center.
“We’ve heard from a lot of people in the community over the past several years. They really do feel there is a need,” Rutchik said of in-patient hospice care in Thurston County. “It’s certainly time for it to exist now.”
The project’s estimated cost is $11.6 million. Providence submitted a letter of intent in October and is now waiting for the state Department of Health to approve a certificate of need, which is part of the regulatory process for new medical facilities. Approval is expected no later than July, Koziar said.
The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization estimates about 1.2 million deaths occurred in the United States under hospice care in 2014. The top diagnoses for patients admitted to hospice are cancer, dementia, heart disease, lung disease, stroke and coma.