To learn more
To be accepted into the Care Cottage, patients must meet Medicare criteria for admission to hospice care, which includes a medical director's diagnosis of less than six months to live.
For more about the hospice home, contact Donna Flory, supervisor for Care Cottage, at 843-3738.
There's no place like home. That's especially true when facing the end of life.
To offer an alternative to a nursing home or hospital, a Lawrence nonprofit agency has opened Douglas County's first hospice home, called the Care Cottage.
"We have had patients who have had to move into nursing homes and have not had an opportunity to remain in a home setting," said Donna L. Flory, hospice social worker and Care Cottage supervisor. "With this house, patients who don't have families that are able to provide 24-hour care will be able to receive all the support they need."
The Douglas County Visiting Nurses Association, Rehabilitation and Hospice Care agency purchased the former Hearth House, 3109 W. 26th St., that was owned by Alan Campbell and Cindy West, for $300,000. It used funds from the VNA endowment and a fundraiser to purchase the state-certified small-scale assisted living facility.
Judy Bellome, chief executive of the VNA, said the agency saved about $40,000 in renovations by purchasing an already-established Home Plus facility.
As part of the purchase agreement, VNA agreed to grandfather two nonhospice residents already living in the home. The house has four bedrooms, so the program now can accept two hospice patients. The cost for room and board is $125 per day, and patients must meet Medicare criteria that includes a medical director's diagnosis of less than six months to live. Cottage Care is staffed 24 hours a day with certified nurses who also help with cleaning, cooking and personal care. As part of the Medicare benefit, residents also receive access to VNA hospice services such as a registered nurse, social worker, chaplain and volunteers.
Family and friends can visit as much as they like, and residents are encouraged to decorate if they like.
"Our feeling and my belief is that this is the residents' home, and we are here to care for them and support them here," Flory said.
Flory, who has been a social worker for 38 years and has been working in hospice since the early 1990s, said the home was a dream come true.
"This has been my goal to give people other options. To me, it's just kind of an idea that we've had and hoped for and here we are, it's come to fruition," she said while sitting in the formal living room of the home that is nestled in a quiet, southwest Lawrence neighborhood. The one-story brick house also has a hearth room, dining room, kitchen and two-car garage. The front and back porches have large pots of pink and purple flowers.
Care Cottage is just a stepping stone for the agency, which hopes to build a 12-bed inpatient hospice on 2.5 acres behind the United Way building on Ridge Court. Douglas County Commission has agreed to lease property for the facility at $1 per year for 99 years. The VNA plans to launch a multimillion-dollar capital campaign for the facility, but first it is focusing on the hospice home.
Bellome said the spring "Dine, Dance and Donate" raised $100,000. VNA's goal was $35,000.
"I think it shows the real interest that Douglas County has in this support system," Bellome said.