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Groundbreaking to be held for hospice facility

An “old-fashioned” groundbreaking will be held July 30 for the new Homestead hospice inpatient facility, complete with a working mule and plow and banjo music.

The hospice has raised $2.8 million of the $3.6 million needed to build and equip the facility through two generous grants, community donations and a donation from the Bernice Medford estate. The new facility will house six beds for hospice patients, offering families with a  dying loved one a choice in between hospitalization and in-home care.

The groundbreaking will be held at 10 a.m. near the construction site on the hospital campus. Marc Pruett of the Balsam Range will provide bluegrass music for the occasion. Construction on the inpatient facility is expected to be completed by Sept. 2011. Clark & Leatherwood construction company of Waynesville  is slated to serve as contractors for the project.

The second phase of the project will eventually be the end-of-life outreach center, which will focus on outpatient services and community outreach programs, including space for medical professionals, therapists, clergy and volunteers to collaboratively manage care for patients in the home care hospice program. There will be private rooms for counseling services and bereavement therapy, a reference library for resources related to terminal diseases and end-of-life issues, and a community education center with multimedia capability. A courtyard will connect the two buildings, and memorial gardens will provide for intentional counseling through gardening and for memorial butterfly and dove releases.

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