Lourdes announces inpatient hospice care center


Reporter - Jason Hibbs
Photojournalist - David Dycus

PADUCAH, Ky. - A local healthcare facility is just a few hundred thousand dollars away from a major transformation that hospital administrators say will also transform the way we think of end-of-life-care.
It's a ten suite, 10,000 square foot center for the terminally ill that will soon be built on the Lourdes hospital campus.

Lourdes just launched a public capital campaign.  They want to build the area's first inpatient hospice facility.

Long institutional-looking hallways small waiting areas for family, and your typical hospital bed.

This is "the hospital" as we all know, but Lourdes President and CEO Steven Grinnell wants to create a different environment for people reaching the end of life.

"It was very obvious this was the right thing for our hospital to move toward," Grinnell said.

Tuesday the hospital publicly launched a $7 million capital campaign for inpatient hospice care.

Chief Philanthropy Officer Tara Miller said $6.4 million in commitments have already been made.

"Everyone has been supportive and wanted to be involved in the campaign," Miller said.

Miller is only $600,000 away from the $7 million goal.

"So many people have been touched by hospice, I think they really understand the value," Miller said.

Miller said Lourdes only needed $5 million to build the facility.  Every dollar beyond that will go into an endowment fund where Lourdes will use the interest to help people pay for the services offered there.  They want at least $2 million in that fund, a 5-percent return equals $100,000 per year.

Hospital administrators say donors are digging deep into their pockets to fund a center they might need someday.

Donors like Bill Jones.

Jones said not one day passes, that he doesn't think about his son Nicholas, who died of cancer at nine-years-old.

"You look for an answer, you look for a reason and you're not going to find one," Jones said.

While time hasn't taken away the pain, it has given him clarity.

That's why, when he heard about a chance to raise money for specialized end of life care, like what Nicholas had, he jumped on it.

"I just had this sense inside of me, you know you have those gut feelings that say this is the right thing to do and the right time to do it," Jones said.

"What we've tried to do is create an inviting, warm entrance. When patients and family come, they know they're coming in for something very different, very special for their final stay," Grinnell said.

That's why Jones is helping raise all the money he can.

"I've really had a soft spot in my heart for the program," Jones said.

The more money raised means the more Lourdes can help people who are un-insured or under-insured and in need of the center.

If you'd like to help with the Lourdes Hospice Care Center, click here.