New Hospice Facilities Launch Ahead While Others Halt

New hospice facilities and grief centers are cropping up across the country, while a California inpatient facility is reopening following a temporary closure due to the pandemic. 

Meanwhile, construction of a hospice house in Maryland has ground to a halt. COVID-19, along with the current economic environment, have adversely affected the sustainability of these facilities.

Chapters Health establishes third Florida youth grieving center

Chapters Health System is moving forward on plans to open the Good Shepherd Hospice Bethany Center for Grieving Children in Lakeland, Florida.


Good Shepherd Hospice is an affiliate of Chapters Health System and provides care to more than 4,200 patients across three counties in the Sunshine States. This will make the organization’s third center for youth bereavement in the area, with additional locations in Auburndale and Sebring, Florida.

While the pandemic created an unprecedented need for grief support with reports that upwards of 1 million lives have been lost nationwide, it also took a toll on the center’s progression, according to Paula Creamer, director of philanthropy for the Chapters Health Foundation in support of Good Shepherd Hospice. The foundation raised roughly $550,000 in fundraising campaign dollars.

“This project has been an adventure as we navigated the campaign effort and construction through the pandemic, but here we are,” said Creamer in an announcement. “We are so grateful to our community for embracing this project and the Good Shepherd Hospice mission to ensure our children have a place to heal and hope for tomorrow.”


All three facilities were named after Bethany Ann Traviesa, who set the idea in motion 30 years ago, envisioning a place to support her three children after she passed. The first center began providing grief support services in 1991 following her death.

The newest center includes resources for bereavement support that are youth-centered, including an art studio with an array of materials for children expressive therapy and a gaming floor that encourages physical activity to reduce stress, tension, anxiety and depression. It also features a play therapy room with an interactive sandbox, kitchen and other amenities for children to engage with others experiencing loss.

Hosparus Health opens new grief support facility

Hosparus Health recently opened a new grief resource center in partnership with the YMCA of Greater Louisville in Kentucky. The Hosparus Health Resource Center will extend bereavement services and education to underserved communities in that area.

At the 1,245-square-foot facility, Hosparus Health will provide education and support of grief services at no cost to families in the West Louisville area, which consists of nine neighborhoods. Though hospices are required to provide bereavement services for 13 months following a loved one’s passing, many extend these services beyond their patients’ families and into communities.

“This location grew out of an overwhelming demand for more grief support and resources in the West End,” Amy Hill, executive director of counseling services at Hosparus Health, said in an announcement. “We are excited to now have a physical presence that will increase accessibility and reduce barriers to those services.”

An aim of the resource center is to provide a safe place for individuals to work through difficult emotions and grief, and help survivors address the physical, mental, social and spiritual impact of losing a family member or close friend, Hill continued.

The nonprofit provider in 2017 originally set a $24 million goal to expand its hospice and palliative care services across 41 counties in Kentucky and Southern Indiana, reporting last year that it surpassed this with a $28 million fundraising campaign. The campaign was created to address areas of need that included service enhancements and operational support, regional expansion, endowments and business development, and long-term sustainability.

Building a resource center was part of that goal. Funding support for the $130,000 project came from The Gheens Foundation, Brown-Forman Corp., Brown-Forman Foundation and Norton Healthcare, along with individual donors.

The company anticipates serving as many as 200 individuals in its first year of operation.

Kaweah Health reopens California inpatient hospice

Kaweah Health Hospital Foundation recently announced the reopening of an inpatient hospice facility in Visalia, California. The hospice center closed last year and ownership was then transferred to the foundation by its prior operator.

Facility-based care took massive hits during the pandemic. Some saw drops in patient census as many sought care in the home, while others saw rises but couldn’t retain sufficient staff numbers to keep up with demand.

High staff turnover and rising costs for paid sick leave and personal protective equipment are just some of the factors that stirred a perfect storm of closure for some inpatient hospice centers.

“Over the last several years we’ve had so many patients and families come to us that need some place to go and not having a place for them to go was very hard,” Deborah Salazar, nurse manager at Kaweah Health Hospice, said in a company announcement.

Renamed The Kaweah Health Ruth Wood Open Arms House, plans are moving forward for it to open this summer following state authority approval/licensure. Patients will receive 24/7 care at the six-bed hospice facility, which features private patient rooms, a living room space, kitchen, large dining area, office area and a serenity garden.

Kaweah Health Hospice staff will oversee the hospice facility’s day-to-day operations and medical care, which will be provided by a team of nurses, home health aides, social workers and chaplains.

“The house really empowers families to be families while our staff provide caregiving support,” said Dr. Ryan Howard, medical director at Kaweah Health Hospice. “We are incredibly honored to serve patients and their families in this community and just help folks be comfortable and maintain their dignity and receive compassionate care at the end of life. This house is going to enable us to continue that mission, even for the most vulnerable of our community.”

Compass Regional Hospice halts center’s build in Maryland

Maryland-based Compass Regional Hospice recently dissolved plans to build an inpatient hospice center in Caroline County. The company cited swelling construction costs, rising inflation rates and the staffing shortage.

The 10-bed inpatient hospice facility had been in the works for more than a decade.

“In my opinion, it is definitely not the time to consider constructing a hospice building in Denton at this point in time when we are facing the highest inflation rate in 40 years, the highest gas prices in history, supply chain issues, continued staffing shortages,” Terry Mead, Compass board treasurer told a local newspaper. “Our focus must be on providing all residents of Caroline county with exceptional hospice care, supportive care and grief support services.”

Established in 1985, nonprofit provider Compass serves Caroline, Kent and Queen Anne’s counties in Maryland. It currently operates an inpatient hospice facility in Centreville, Maryland. The Barnette Center recently renovated to include 10 patient beds, and provides 24/7 supportive care in a home-like setting. General and residential inpatient hospice care will still be available to patients in all three counties through the center.

No similar facilities exist in Caroline County. Compass partnered with the Caroline Hospice Foundation to develop a path forward for the hospice center’s build, but plans stalled in 2018 due to a lack of funding, according to local news reports.

Compass carried forward, raising millions through a capital funding campaign and multiple fundraisers, with those donations now anticipated to be returned.

Halting the hospice house will mean a lack of support for individuals in the Caroline county area, according to Caroline County Commissioner Larry Porter. Porter told local news the decision came as “a slap in the face” to the county.

Seniors 65 and older represent 16% of the county’s current population, reported the U.S. Census Bureau. In line with national trends, the area’s aging population is projected to grow and raise demand for end-of-life care and related services.

“The people of Caroline County deserve a hospice facility,” said Porter. “The people who have lived their lives [here] deserve to be able to die [here]. We’ve fought for stuff before. We’ve been successful at it, and we’ll see how we can be successful in this.”

Companies featured in this article:

, , , , , , , , , ,