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John Wolcott, Editor
Dave Clark, Assistant Editor
Published: Friday, January 30, 2009

Economy delays Providence hospice project

Celebrating 30 years of community service for homebound and terminally ill patients, Providence Hospice and Home Care of Snohomish County had hoped to begin construction on a $10 million hospice inpatient center this year in south Everett.

Now the weakened economy has postponed the project for the next two years or more. It had been planned to open in 2010.

Director of Development Connie Wittren wrote in a Dec. 30, 2008 letter to supporters who had contributed to the project that the 18-year dream “for building a Hospice Care Center, a compassionate, home-like residence where hospice patients could live during their final stage of life” would have to be postponed.

The project drew $2 million in pledges and donations from supporters of the program. The organization was close to purchasing a 2-acre site in south Everett when the delay was announced by its parent organization, Providence Health Services in Seattle. An additional $3.5 million would have been needed to complete the project.

The state of the national economy and a weak stock markets cut deeply into the agency’s ability to arrange financing for four new projects, including the hospice center. Now, capital funds will not be approved until at least late 2009, sometime in 2010 or even later, said Dan Harris, chief financial officer for Providence Health & Services.

Postponing those projects, however, will ensure construction work continues on the $500 million expansion of Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, Harris said.

Executive Director Paula Beatty said the setback for the inpatient hospice center was disappointing because there is a need for those services. The hospice service, headquartered at 2731 Wetmore Ave., Suite 500 in Everett serves approximately 1,700 patients each year with individualized medical care, bereavement support, spiritual comfort, respite care and assistance with daily living activities.

The hospice and home care staff includes nurses, home health aides, medical social workers, chaplains, physical therapists, and speech and occupational therapists. Hospice services allow people with progressive, life-threatening illnesses to live their final months in their own homes, as well as to help non-terminal patients stay in their own homes.

Also, the hospice service will continue to provide care in homes, assisted living facilities or other types of residences and serve patients at both Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett and Stevens Hospital in Edmonds for people who are close to dying.

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