Niagara Hospice House expansion underway

Construction of a six-suite addition to Niagara Hospice House off Sunset Drive is underway. Niagara Hospice is launching a $2 million capital campaign to cover the expense. (Jacob Fries / contributor)

Niagara Hospice House is undergoing expansion on Sunset Drive.

Fundraising for the project is ongoing. Even so, Niagara Hospice is enthusiastic that this expansion will further aid the organization in providing help for those who require hospice care. 

Niagara Hospice House opened in 2007 with eight suites, and has since then expanded to 10 suites. The latest expansion, which will add six suites, was approved by the Niagara Hospice board of directors in June, after the state Department of Health signed off on it.

Hospice care usually involves taking care of people who are nearing the end of their lives. Caregiving can take place in a patient's home or, in the event they require long-term care, the patient can reside at Hospice House. 

“We base our care on what patients and families need who might have six months or less to live,” said Janet Ligammari, director of hospice facility services.

Expansion of Niagara Hospice House is due to high demand for the specialty service, according to John Lomeo, president and CEO of Niagara Hospice.

“We have tremendous demand for the beds,” he said. “We are one of the few hospices that has a (residential) facility in Western New York, and there's a lot of demand for our beds.”

Ligammari suggested one factor behind increased demand could be "both members of households working" and thus one is unable to assist in the care of the other.

Expansion has been in the works for close to a year, according to Ligammari. Due to the nature of the work of Niagara Hospice House, it is important to have as many suites available as possible, Lomeo added.

“In hospice, we do not want to have a waiting list. That’s just incongruent with the hospice philosophy," Lomeo said. "When you need hospice, you need it now.”

Expansion will be paid for through gifts and donations to Niagara Hospice, since the financing that's available to hospitals and nursing homes is not available to hospice organizations. The capital campaign to raise $2 million is still in its earliest stages, Lomeo said, adding that he's optimistic about community support.

“The people of Niagara County have really stepped up to the plate every time we’ve expanded this building, It's just amazing,” he said.

It's expected that the addition to Niagara Hospice House will be completed by March. 

While the new suites are under construction, Niagara Hospice will be recruiting and training additional staff. Ligammari is eager to see those suites functioning.

“I’m just looking forward to being able to serve more patients and families,” she said.

To donate to the capital campaign, go to NiagaraHospice.org/ExpandHospiceHouse or call (716) 280-0789.

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