The Hospice House Foundation of Western North Carolina (HHF) was founded in 2005 with the goal of building a sixbed facility that would allow patients a feeling of comfort while experiencing, in most cases, their final days of life. After many challenges that were presented along the way, those goals have become more attainable – from the purchase of the Dryman home located on Maple Street here in Franklin, to the Certificate of Need being awarded to the foundation, and now with a challenge grant being awarded in the sum of $1 million. The State Employees Credit Union (SECU) Foundation, based out of Raleigh, awarded the grant and Tuesday morning, members of the SECU Foundation, the Dryman family, and the HHF gathered at the future hospice home to celebrate the step forward. “We are happy to award this grant to the Hospice House Foundation because of the work that they do in the community,” said Executive Vice President of Administrative Services for SECU, G. Mark Twisdale. “This money comes from our members. Each person gives one dollar for this wonderful cause.” A challenge grant means that once half of the $3.8 million projected for renovations has been raised, then the $1 million from SECU will be awarded. “This is a way to build confidence in the community. We don’t have any hand in how this all runs and that is the best part. These people on the ground know how this works,” he said. “The HHF is a community based organization and there is some great leadership right here. When they hit their goal, the structure will be so strong that we have no doubt that this will be a good investment for our members and all of the residents of this community.” “It is a tremendous honor to receive such a generous gift from the members of the State Employees Credit Union. A gift of this magnitude demonstrates the notable need our community has for the inpatient facility. It has given the foundation a big boost in our efforts to raise the $3.8 million for renovations, an addition to the home and the 2.74 acres we purchased at 272 Maple Street,” said Michele Alderson, president of the Hospice House Foundation. Once Alderson and the non-profit, volunteer-driven HHF finish raising the money to renovate and eventually complete the home, a team of experienced managers and doctors will take over. Four Seasons is the managing arm of the Hospice House and is currently ranked number one in the state for hospice care. Four Seasons was able to reach an agreement with Highlands-Cashiers Hospital to transfer their hospice license to Four Seasons, therefore allowing access to Macon County’s patients. Derek Groves, vice president of Sustainable Resources and Steven Mills, director of Four Seasons in Western North Carolina were also at Tuesday’s event to show their support and appreciation for the grant. “It is so important that we get this Hospice Home up and running here in Franklin. There will be so many people from around the area that will be able to take advantage of the services that will be offered here,” said Groves. “Many of these families have never dealt with death or this sort of thing before and we can help. We can help provide some comfort. We’re just so thankful for this contribution and all contributions from the community.” The Hospice House will provide residential style living areas, exterior gardens and six spacious private patient suites, with covered porches. The house will also feature a sun room, screened porch, a family kitchen, dining room, living room, chapel, and den with a fireplace. The house will serve an array of patients who are experiencing different circumstances, but the staff will have experience in addressing their needs. Respite care will also be offered which means that patients will be able to come to the house for up to five days while their caregivers take time to rest, travel, or do anything else they may want to do. While under the care of the Hospice Home, the patient will receive medical attention. Patients may also be admitted to the Hospice House at end of life. Families and caregivers are allowed to stay with their loved ones while the patient is at the residence for any reason. “What is important to note here, is that the care that will be given at this facility is specialized care,” said Mills. “Families who may have to look to hospice as an option are going through a tough time and that’s where we come in. The Hospice House will be here to help them any way that we can.” “Hospice Houses have become a standard of care that is available to most residents in North Carolina and, indeed around the country,” said Alderson. “There are currently 59 hospice inpatient facilities in our state. It will be wonderful for our neighbors, families and friends to have access to such a facility locally. This gift takes us closer to opening the doors to SECU Hospice House of WNC.”
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