City to vote on Hospice House funding Thursday

Story by Mikayla Marshall, Contributing writer

At the next city council meeting, Sept. 10, council members can vote on spending an additional $22,864.76 to fund the Anna Mae Owens Hospice House.

Hospice is provided when a person is terminally ill or facing life-ending injuries. Hospice creates a comfortable environment where patients can live out their last moments in peace.

The program also helps families spiritually through this time and helps them heal.

The hospice contract is implemented throughout nursing homes and hospitals, but Murray-Calloway County Hospital made the decision to have a specific facility where patients and family can share final memories.

  “It will better the hospital and the city greatly,” Jane Schumaker, Murray councilwoman, said. “Hospice isn’t an easy thing to go through and the Hospice House will help the patients along with the families.”

The Anna Mae Owens Hospice House is an extension of the 34-year-old hospice program at the Murray-Calloway County Hospital.

The program specializes in care for those facing end-of-life scenarios and provides pain management, symptom control, and medical control in a home like setting, where friends and family are encouraged to visit, according to their website.

The Hospice House itself broke ground in June 2014.

Keith Travis, vice president of Institutional Development, said the funding for the Hospice House was a success.

It’s the first major project of Murray-Calloway County Hospital, a public nonprofit city and county-owned hospital, to ever be funded completely through philanthropic donations.

“It was seven years of private donations,” he said. “It was an amazing thing to witness because we were getting funding not just from Kentucky but from other states as well”. 

However, there were some setbacks because of summer rain and construction on the Hospice House is a little behind. The hospital expects that the Hospice House will be complete by December 2015.

The Murray-Calloway County Hospital is excited about the opportunity to provide this level of care to its patients, Travis said.

“Thirty years ago hospice wasn’t even heard of,” he said. “Patients had the choice of in the home or in the hospital. This is a new level of care.”

The Hospice House will be opened, not only to those in Calloway County, but to all of western Kentucky.

  “At some point we all have our destiny,” said Travis. “It may not be what we expect but we have to live life as best we can.”