Bill Would Provide Funds For New Hospice Project

BERLIN — In the midst of a major fundraising effort for a new facility in Berlin, the Coastal Hospice at the Ocean residence project is hoping for a fiscal shot in the arm from the state.

Coastal Hospice, which provides care, peace and dignity for the seriously or terminally ill, is embarking on a major capital project to build a new Coastal Hospice at the Ocean residence on Broad Street in Berlin. The estimated $5 million project will provide services for about 50-75 patients each day, many of whom will live out the remainder of their life in a quiet, dignified way. The new facility will essentially provide services on two fronts, with many of the patients living at the facility and others benefitting from its outreach program.

Based on the space required, along with the property purchase, construction, equipment and furnishing costs, the project comes with an estimated $5 million price tag, much of which will be provided by Coastal Hospice’s private sector fundraising efforts. However, capital bills introduced in the House by Delegate Norm Conway and in the Senate by Sen. James Mathias could provide up to $500,000 in state funding for the project.

Coastal Hospice Development Director Maureen McNeill said this week the campaign for the new facility is well underway although the state funding provided by the legislation could produce a much-needed jumpstart.

“We’re trying to raise money right now and we’re in what I call the quiet phase of the campaign,” she said. “We’ve raised the money to purchase the property, but the state funding, if approved, could be a very important puzzle piece.”

Mathias said he was glad to introduce the bond bill for such a worthy facility.

“Coastal Hospice plays such an important role in our community,” he said. “It provides a place of quiet dignity for those facing mortality and serves so many people in a number of ways.”

While the new facility will be located in Berlin, it will provide services for the entire Lower Shore and compliment the organization’s existing Coastal Hospice by the Lake in Salisbury. McNeill said changing demographics, particularly in northern Worcester, has increased the demand for services.

“A lot of our patients tend to be in northern Worcester because of the large retiree community here,” she said. “There are many who need our services and assistance that don’t have family close by because they moved here from somewhere else after retirement.”

McNeill said the new facility will include six individual rooms to provide privacy, yet accommodate family members who wish to remain close at hand. There will be space provided for families to gather together and space for individuals seeking solitude, including gardens for consultation, conversation and bereavement.

“A lot of our patients will be staying here for the last few months of their lives,” she said. “There will be people who can no longer manage at home, or have reached a point in their condition where they can’t care for themselves and don’t have family close at hand.”

The hope is to create a hospice residence where patients and their families can receive the medical, spiritual and emotional support they need. The facility will provide around-the-clock caregiving, comfortable rooms and nutritious, satisfying meals for patients and their families. Meanwhile, the outreach and palliative care programs provide similar support for those who aren’t nearing the end of their days.

“We provide care for those who don’t necessarily have a life-limiting condition, but need pain management or symptom management,” said McNeill.