First Inpatient Hospice in Western North Carolina Breaks Ground

Hospice House Foundation of Western North Carolina has broken ground on the first inpatient hospice facility to serve six counties in that region. The Franklin, N.C.-based unit will bring a new level of care for patients too sick for routine home care or who lack family caregiver support.

North Carolina’s State Employee Credit Union (SECU) Foundation helped finance the project with a $40,000 grant to cover financial planning costs and a $1 million challenge grant for construction, which began Feb. 22.

“This is such an exciting day for the Hospice House Foundation and the residents of our area, including the Qualla Boundary-Cherokee Reservation,” says Michele Alderson, board chair of the Hospice House Foundation of WNC. “Breaking ground on the SECU Hospice House has been a while in the making, and we feel blessed that it is finally here.”


The new facility will hold six patient suites and overnight accommodations for family members, a guest kitchen and dining room, family room, chapel, a children’s area, as well as clinical space.

Medicare reimbursement for hospice providers includes four levels of care, including routine home care, continuous home care, inpatient care, and respite care. According to the US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, a patient may be admitted to an inpatient hospice to address symptoms such as unrelieved pain, severe shortness of breath, severe anxiety or panic attacks, severe nausea, or when a breakdown occurs in family caregiver support.

North Carolina has more than 38 inpatient hospice facilities throughout the state, but none in the six westernmost counties. Currently patients needing inpatient hospice care are transported to facilities an hour or more away from their home counties.


“With such strong support from the medical community and local citizens, the SECU Hospice House of WNC will no doubt have an immediate and positive impact in the region,“ said Bob Brinson, SECU Foundation board chair.

SECU foundation is a charitable organization established by a member-owned non-profit financial cooperative that offers consumer financial services and financial advising to state employees.

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