The Portland, Ore., community is marshaling its resources to resurrect the Hopewell Hospice House, which closed last year. In addition to hands-on patient care, the facility will serve as the center for community education about hospice, palliative care and societal perceptions of death.
A newly incorporated non-profit called Friends of Hopewell House is overseeing a fundraising campaign to purchase the Tudor-style residential building that Hopewell occupied. They have the right to bid first on the property after the funds are assembled. Their plan is to provide comprehensive and innovative care in a home-like environment for patients who can’t receive care in their residence but do not want to be in a hospital.
One of the organization’s goals is to provide care that goes beyond the current Medicare Hospice Benefit.
“We’re cutting the Medicare umbilical cord, because we feel like there are too many restrictions that come with that. A huge part of our mission is to really make systemic change at that level,” Scott MacEachern, executive director of Friends of Hopewell House, told Hospice News. “We were very thoughtful in regards to bringing innovation into our mission statement because there’s just a gamut from legislation to new therapies, new ways of thinking, there’s so much going on in the death and dying space on which the government is just lagging.”
The organization will be experimenting with new home-grown payment models such as bed day grants. These are relationships with local hospitals and hospices that can purchase a number of bed days in Hopewell House for their patients who need residential care. This practice can save a hospital tens of thousands of dollars per month, according to Scott. This is particularly beneficial to hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic when beds for acute care are in high demand.
The facility will only accept hospice patients. These patients will receive interdisciplinary care from nurses, nurses’ aides, certified nursing assistants and medics, with 1-to-4 staff to patient ratio during the day and 1-to-6 at night. Patients admitted to the facility will be under the care of the care of the primary hospice team in collaboration of the nursing staff hired by Hopewell House.
The 12,000-square-foot structure consists of the original historic Tudor home with the addition of a medical wing of patient rooms. The 4.5 acre property surrounded by woods and landscaped grounds will contain a 12-bed facility with 10 private rooms, room to accommodate family members, a communal living room with fireplace, a dining room and lounge and a sanctuary.
In addition to operating the house, the organization will partner with universities to conduct studies in complementary and alternative medicine at end of life, as well as offering a wide range of integrative and non-pharmacological treatment strategies to manage symptoms.
Another goal of the project is to establish Hopewell House as a center for death-positive community learning for the Portland Metropolitan area.
“The second part of our mission is to shape and share what it means to live well in the presence of death,” Eric Walsh, M.D., a physician member of the board of directors of Friends Of Hopewell House. We want to really expand the lens in regards to what it means to die well, and how that can be supported holistically.”