Hospice of Southern Maine has broken ground on a new 14,550 square-foot, $6.7 million Home Hospice Center to serve as the hub for its in-home hospice clinical teams, currently serving more than 200 patients daily in 66 southern Maine communities. The hospice expects the facility to open in the summer of 2020.
In addition to serving as a headquarters for clinical operations, the center will feature a Family Bereavement Suite for free community grief counseling, a community room for education programs and meetings, as well as a Learning and Simulation Lab for staff training.
“The need for hospice services is on the rise, and we are seeing more and more Mainers take advantage of the high quality care we offer,” said Hospice of Southern Maine CEO Daryl Cady. “We have heard time after time — and the data shows —that people want to be home at the end of life. This new building will help support that. It will also give families and others in the community a visible place to access the information, education and grief support they need.”
Hospice utilization has been on the rise for more than a decade in Maine. In 2005, the state ranked 49th in the nation for hospice care with only 9% of eligible patients choosing to enroll, according to Hospice of Southern Maine.
“Maine now ranks in the middle of the pack nationally at 25th, and hospice utilization is up to 45%,” Cady told Hospice News.
The one-story building represents contemporary coastal New England design, including floor-to-ceiling windows to bring in natural light and an open-concept floor plan. It will replace two spaces the hospice currently leases, which the hospice has outgrown. Hospice of Southern Maine in 2018 cared for a record 1,700 patients, and its patient census has risen 20% during the past four years.
“We literally have no more space to add another person to help support our home care team, our patients and families, and our community,” Cady told Hospice News. “Maine’s population is aging, and we currently have the oldest median age in the nation. More patients and families will need our care. More families will need our grief support, and the community will continue to need education.”
In the facility’s training center staff and volunteer will experience simulations of in-home care experiences before they make actual visits, allowing them to work through scenarios in a controlled environment.
The hospice partnered with Embodied Labs to develop a virtual reality module called the “Clay Lab” that puts staff in the shoes of a 66-year-old veteran with stage IV cancer to help them better understand the patient’s perspective.
The hospice is seeking community and philanthropic donations to complete the financing of the center, thus far having raised $4.5 million of a $5.6 million goal. A lead donor has contributed $686,000, separate from the $5.6 million goal, to pay for solar and geothermal power systems.