MONTROSE – The word “progress” – a noun that means to move forward or onward toward a destination – is usually followed with a smile when used by Nancy Hoganson to describe the goals for Hospice and Palliative Care of Western Colorado in 2013.
Hoganson, who joined Hospice in 2005 and serves as its director of community relations, is fundraising and drawing community support for the county's first Hospice Center, which will provide needed space for hospice clinicians and volunteers as a hub for training, counseling sessions and adult and children’s grief programs.
Last week, Hoganson went before the city council at its regular meeting, asking for approximately $8,000 in cash (to complete the city's donation of $25,000 in cash and services) to be used to toward earning, hopefully, a $400,000 Department of Local Affairs Community Development Block Grant toward constructing the new facility.
DOLA had told Hoganson that city and county donations totaling $50,000 would evidence strong community support when they consider grant funding next month.
To that end, Hoganson will appear before the Montrose County Commission on Tuesday, March 4, asking for $12,000 in cash (to add to the county's previous donation of $13,000 in donated services) to complete the county's commitment.
"Between the city council and the county – they have been wonderful to work with – they each have had to come up with a package that fits within their budgets, but yet provide that level of support," Hoganson said.
The city waived all building fees (along with sewer and tap fees) as part of its $25,000 package to Hospice for a new facility at 735 S. Fourth Street, one hundred yards from Montrose Memorial Hospital.
Part of the county's previous $13,000 contribution was the demolition and clean-up of two dilapidated houses, torn down to make way for the new 6,300-square-foot facility. Construction is planned for the fall, according to Hoganson.
In the current Hospice Center offices, at 645 S. Fifth Street, employees and volunteers have gotten used to sharing desks and office space, and are even keeping some workstations together with duct tape.
Hoganson said a set price for the facility remains to be determined, although early estimates are about $2 million. The new 6,300 square-foot space will more than triple the current 2,000 square-foot space, allowing staff and volunteers "room to work and provide services beyond the normal scope of care."
"With a bigger building, we’ll be able to provide access to care for more people,” Hoganson said. “We are just really hamstrung here, with our lack of space.”
New conference rooms, with upgraded video equipment, will be designed for better, convenient training for staff – and cut down on the expense of out-of-town conferences.
According to literature about the project, "In the same way that having a Hospice campus in Grand Junction has engaged the community in a significant way, we believe that community visibility with a Montrose building will mean we can serve many more patients here.
“We anticipate a larger building will help us to build the field of volunteer services we can provide for patients and their families. Presently all our bereavement programs are held offsite, since they have outgrown our available space.”
The new facility will lead to more than just an uptick in programs – the hospice program could, over the next five years, with its new facility and staff, care up to 75-100 patients a day; its Community Adult Bereavement Program could expand to 100-200 people and its Community Child and Teen Grief Program could accommodate an additional 200 children.
On a tour last week, Hoganson moved from room to room explaining the the functions; the cramped facilities notwithstanding, the dedication of the growing staff was obviously strong.
“Progress,” said Horganson, with a confident smile.
Hospice and Palliative Care of Western Colorado began in Grand Junction in 1993, and two years later opened it Montrose office. For more information, visit www.hospicewco.com.