AGC Northern District Members Help Build Area's First Hospice House

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Above: The new Whatcom County Hospice House (photo by Edye Colello-Morton).

Below: Karen Ssebanakitta Director of Hospice Services; Mike Hammes President of Ram Construction; and Mike Kirkland Executive Director of Whatcom Hospice Foundation celebrate at the open house for Whatcom County Hospice House. (photo by Edye Colello-Morton)
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With the help of several generous AGC Northern District members Whatcom County Hospice Foundation funded and built the region’s first hospice house. An open house for the new facility was held Aug. 21 and patients are now being admitted.

AGC-member Dawson Construction served as general contractor for the Hospice House Construction Team which also included AGC members Mills Electric Co. Diamond B Constructors Ram Construction and Birch Equipment Rental and Sales. Other AGC members provided in-kind support to the project including Andersen Construction Builders Alliance Custom Concrete Contracting Granite Construction HD Fowler Rogers Machinery Co. and Sanitary Services Co.

The nearly $6 million project was made possible through generous support of Whatcom Hospice Foundation (WHF) donors construction community partners and the WHF Board of Directors. Mike Hammes (Ram Construction) John Huntley (Mills Electric) and Sarah Rothenbuhler (Birch Equipment) are members of the WHF Board. AGC of Washington made a $5000 donation to the project.

These AGC members and other Whatcom County volunteers took an aging structure that housed a school and transformed it into a state-of-the-art hospice facility that will provide the kind of compassionate end of life care in a warm home-like setting that every hospice patient deserves.

The building has been completely reconfigured into 12 private patient rooms with large windows and doors that offer patients and their families beautiful and restful views of Chuckanut Mountain. A large open space became a cozy living room welcoming families friends and loved ones who can visit as often and long as they desire. Large dormer windows fill the interior with light and soft colors and fabrics provide patients and visitors alike a comfortable home-like place in which to spend quality time with one another.

The new Whatcom Hospice House is an extension of the Whatcom Hospice program which has been caring for patients in their homes or other community settings since the 1980s. Whatcom Hospice House is a service of PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center. Each year more than 200 people are admitted to PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center for end-of-life comfort care. Whatcom Hospice House will provide a more comfortable and family-centered place to receive this care. Additionally hospice patients may move to Whatcom Hospice House for a short stay if their symptoms require frequent nursing intervention or cannot be adequately managed by current caregivers.