New hospice house opens thanks to ongoing donor support
After almost 28 years of providing end-of-life care for mid-valley families, Samaritan Evergreen Hospice opened the doors of its new hospice house in June. A hospice house is an inpatient “small specialty hospital” that serves dying patients who cannot be cared for in their own residences. Samaritan Evergreen Hospice House is one of only six facilities allowed in Oregon.
Located at 4600 Evergreen Place SE in Albany, the 14,390-square-foot house will serve patients from Benton, Linn, Marion and Polk counties. Most patients prefer to spend their final days in their own homes, and Evergreen Hospice strongly supports that goal, with more than 50 staff and 45 volunteers who regularly care for the dying where they live, whether that be in a home, apartment, assisted living facility or adult foster care home. Evergreen will continue to provide these in-home care services.
For some patients, the new hospice house will offer a place where their symptoms can be better managed. The hospice house will also provide respite care, giving family caregivers a break from the strain of providing care. Samaritan Evergreen Hospice House will not serve patients on a residential or long-term basis; the anticipated average length of stay will be less than a week.
The construction of the hospice house is being made possible by an ongoing $4.9-million fundraising campaign led by the Albany General Hospital Foundation.
Long-time hospice harpist produces CD
Working for Samaritan Evergreen Hospice for nearly nine years, harpist Kathy Morris has an amazing talent for making people relax. She calls it “creating a cradle of sound.” Certified in the Music, Healing and Transition as well as the International Harp Therapy programs, Morris is trained to evaluate patients’ moods and needs when she plays in different health care settings.
Now, thanks to Albany General Hospital Foundation funding, a CD of Morris’ music is available. Called “Sounds of Peace,” the CD features 13 melodies from lullabies to Celtic tunes in over 40 minutes of soothing sounds. Morris worked with mentor and teacher Laura Zaer to complete the project. The majority of funding for the project came from hospice volunteer Marilou Perris and her husband John.
“I heard Kathy playing her harp at a patient’s bedside, and I immediately knew I wanted more people to have access to this soothing music at the flip of a switch,” Perris said.
The CD is available for $10, or $8 for 10 copies or more, in the Samaritan Albany General Hospital gift shop and at the Samaritan Evergreen Hospice office. Proceeds are used to fund other hospice projects that bring art to patients. For more information, call (541) 812-4547.