June 30, 2016

Partly sunny

No room at the Inn at Medina for hospice

Judy A. Totts | The Gazette

MEDINA — Like a teenager in a growth spurt who suddenly discovers his shirt sleeves are two inches too short, Hospice of Medina County is outgrowing its current home at The Inn at Medina.

Administrative and clinical functions staff, housed in rented space on North Court Street, feel the pinch, too.

The organization, started 30 years ago, has seen a 53 percent increase in the number of patients and their families served in Medina County and the surrounding area, and Pat Stropko-O’Leary, executive director of Hospice of Medina County, said she anticipates even greater growth as baby boomers enter their senior years.

In addition, many patients have no one to assume the role of caregiver, and the traditional home-care model for hospice may not be feasible. Thirty percent of patients who enter the hospice program with less than two weeks to live often have more acute pain and symptom management needs that require higher levels of care, she said.

To meet its growing needs, Hospice has purchased 8 acres at the corner of state Route 18 and Windfall Road in Granger Township. Matrix, an architectural firm specializing in hospice design, assessed the group’s current and future needs and determined the financial feasibility of expanding services.

The 30,000-square-foot building, estimated to cost $10 million, will operate 24/7 to provide end-of-life care with 12 private patient rooms, an acute care center, bereavement center, offices for clinical and administrative staff, and areas to serve the needs of families, staff and volunteers.

“We’re in the silent phase of fundraising at the moment,” Stropko-O’Leary said. “We’ve just started our capital campaign, ‘Building the Circle of Care.’ ”

The facility at The Inn at Medina has served the organization well for the past five years, Stropko-O’Leary said, but the group had to look at building its own facility. She added projections predict hospice will outgrow the current arrangement within the next three years.

One of the issues a new facility will address is lack of privacy.

“At the Inn, the busier we get, the less privacy there is,” Stropko-O’Leary said. The eight-bed unit, with a nursing station and a gathering area, generally serves families well, she explained.

“They support each other. But in other instances, there can be privacy issues,” she said.

If someone gets upset or angry and needs a place to be consoled or comforted, the staff must use an empty patient room, she said.

A new facility also will be designed to provide more storage space.

“We’re attentive to what we have,” Stropko-O’Leary said. “Extra equipment may get stored in a bathroom or an empty (patient) room. That’s not what you want. The (current) unit isn’t conducive to storage.”

Stropko-O’Leary noted the experience at The Inn at Medina has been a positive one, allowing hospice staff to see what it’s like to administer services through an inpatient unit.

“It’s allowed us to ease into it,” she said, explaining that food, housekeeping and environmental services have been provided as part of the arrangement.

“It’s allowed us to see what’s important for patients and their families, what to address (in a facility of our own).”

From a national health-care perspective, Stropko-O’Leary said hospice care saves Medicare about $2,300 per patient. Hospice teams comprised of doctors, nurses, chaplains and others are able to manage patient symptoms by focusing on end-of-life patient issues outside of a traditional hospital setting.

A hospice facility is a hospital in disguise, she said. It has to have all the support systems required, like oxygen and suction lines running in, and medical equipment available. But unlike a traditional medical setting, a hospice unit has to provide a homelike atmosphere.

Because the organization hopes to involve the community in upcoming fundraising efforts, it has postponed its annual golf outing to focus on the capital campaign. The outing will return in July 2010 at Weymouth Country Club.

For information about the capital campaign or golf outing, contact Stropko-O’Leary at (330) 722-4771 or (800) 700-4771, or hospice@hospiceofmedina.org.

Contact Judy A. Totts at (330) 721-4063 or religion@ohio.net.