New Saint Luke's Hospice House to provide exceptional end-of-life care

Jul 19, 2013, 13:21 ET from Saint Luke's Home Care and Hospice

In-patient hospice facility has grand opening today, extending Saint Luke's services beyond patient homes 

KANSAS CITY, Mo., July 19, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Saint Luke's Health System's new free-standing hospice facility, Saint Luke's Hospice House, opens its doors on Friday, July 19, 2013 with a grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony and plan to begin admitting patients July 24. The general public is welcome to tour the facility at an open house from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., on Saturday, July 20. Saint Luke's Hospice House, located on Southwest Trafficway a mile north of the Kansas City Plaza, is the only free-standing hospice facility situated in the heart of Kansas City and the only one south of the river and north of I-435.

The opening of the Saint Luke's Hospice House is the end of a six-year-long journey from conception to completion. Beautifully landscaped on two acres in midtown Kansas City, the 22,500-square foot facility features 12 private patient suites spacious enough to accommodate family and friends; an indoor and outdoor chapel; family sitting rooms, living spaces and screened-in porches; a staffed kitchen and family dining room; guest showers for families and visitors; a children's area; and common living rooms with amenities such televisions, games, and fireplaces. The house was designed by Matrix Architectural firm, a national leader specializing in hospice design. J.E. Dunn Construction Company is the general contractor.

"The completion of Saint Luke's Hospice House culminates thousands of hours of work and dedication by our staff, volunteers, fundraisers, and community friends," Carol Quiring, Saint Luke's Home Care and Hospice president and CEO, said. "Now that it is complete and ready to welcome patients, we are eager to continue the work we've been doing here in Kansas City homes and care facilities since 1975: providing compassionate and exceptional end-of-life care."

A fundraising campaign led by chairs Larry McMullen and Tom Beal and honorary chairs Jeannette Nichols and Bishop Barry and Mary Howe raised $4 million for the house, including a $500,000 challenge grant from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation. An additional $6 million was provided by Saint Luke's Health System, as part of the organization's dedication to provide exceptional health care to Kansas Citians. Construction of the house began in March 2012. When McMullen's wife, Marilyn, a Saint Luke's volunteer and board member, and eventual patient of Saint Luke's Home Care and Hospice, passed away in May 2012 from pancreatic cancer, he made it his personal mission to help bring the Hospice House to fruition. In a fundraising campaign letter to donors, McMullen shared why the creation of the Saint Luke's Hospice House was vitally important to Kansas City:

"Marilyn finished her last days with dignity, surrounded by the comfort of family and friends in our home. That was so important to my children and me. But not all families are this fortunate. Some may not have the space to accommodate a loved one in their final days nor may they have the physical and emotional strength needed to act as caregivers. This is why a freestanding Saint Luke's Hospice facility is so greatly needed. It will enable patients like Marilyn to receive inpatient care in a comfortable, home-like, family-friendly setting—and families like mine to be together so that we can savor those last, precious moments with our loved ones."

Harry Cleberg and Kelley Martin led the feasibility study committee and helped select the site, which is nestled among trees and green space, to create a calming and beautiful space for patients and their families. The indoor chapel continues this theme with a "Tree of Life" stained glass window created by local stained glass artist, Gene Roper, who has a glass studio in Riverside, Mo. The chapel also features a wooden alter built and donated by 91-year-old artisan Bill Carter, of Lee's Summit, Mo., and friends of Woods Chapel Church. It was crafted from a tree on the Hospice House site.

The Right Reverend Martin Field, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of West Missouri, will perform the private dedication ceremony of the Hospice House chapel. McMullen's son, Rev. Andrew McMullen, an Episcopal priest in Colorado Springs, Colo., also will participate in the ceremony.

The Hospice House grounds also include an outdoor chapel, and a very large, mature tree that was saved during the house construction in order to honor the historic, residential Kansas City neighborhood. The Hospice House was constructed to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) certification, demonstrating Saint Luke's commitment to sustainable and environmentally responsible development.

The Hospice House is located at 3516 Summit Street, just south of the Metropolitan Community College at Penn Valley. The lot sat vacant for more than 20 years prior to the construction of the Saint Luke's Hospice House.

Since 1975, Saint Luke's Hospice has provided compassionate and dignified care to Kansas City-area patients and their families as a division of Saint Luke's Health System Home Care Services. It was one of the country's first hospice programs and currently serves patients in all or parts of 29 counties in Kansas and Missouri.

Saint Luke's Home Care and Hospice is a member of Saint Luke's Health System, which consists of 10 area hospitals and several primary and specialty care practices, and provides a range of inpatient, outpatient, and home care services. Founded as a faith-based, not-for-profit organization, our mission includes a commitment to the highest levels of excellence in health care and the advancement of medical research and education. The health system is an aligned organization in which the physicians and hospitals assume responsibility for enhancing the physical, mental, and spiritual health of people in the metropolitan Kansas City area and the surrounding region.

SOURCE Saint Luke's Home Care and Hospice