First free-standing hospice house for Kansas side of metro opens in Olathe

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OLATHE, Kan. -- A goal of hospice care is to make the end of life more comfortable. The care is usually provided in a patient's home, but not all patients can remain there. Now the Kansas side of the metro has its first free-standing hospice house.

It looks like a lodge and in a sense, it is. It's a place for people in one season of life. Those at the end of life will receive round-the-clock care in the hospice house at Olathe Medical Park.

"It allows their family to really be family because our staff can take care of their personal care needs and the medication management," said Sally Lundy, hospice director for Olathe Medical Center.

The facility is designed for families' comfort, too, with a kitchen to prepare favorite meals, a homey hearthroom and a place for prayer and reflection.

Patient rooms have large windows to bring some of the outdoors in. Lundy says her favorite spot is the veranda. The doors are wide enough to accommodate patients' beds to so they enjoy views of the garden.

Greg Herman knows the facility is needed. When his wife, Phyllis, was in her final days in February, she asked to be admitted to a hospice house.

"I think it was more for me than for her because she knew I was struggling," said Herman.

But he struggled to visit her at that south Kansas City facility when snow fell.

"The roads were snow-packed and it'd been much easier to come here," he said of the new facility which is much closer to his Gardner home.

The hospice house was made possible entirely through donations large and small with 4.3 million dollars raised over five years. The goal? To have a house that's really a home.

A ribbon cutting was held Wednesday, and a public open house is set for Sunday, September 21, from 2 to 4 p.m. at 15310 S. Marion Street.