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Hospice home construction

A crew from High Tech Construction works on the $2.5 million inpatient hospice home on the St. John’s Lutheran Ministries campus on Mission Way. Construction is set to be completed for an Aug. 1 opening.

Just two months after the ceremonial ribbon was cut, clearing the way for a $2.5 million inpatient hospice home on the West End of Billings, the foundation has been poured and piles of lumber have been delivered for construction.

“We are moving forward,” said Shane Flohr of High Tech Construction, who is serving as project manager. “It’s going really well.”

Construction should be finished for an Aug. 1 opening, according to Flohr.

The inpatient home, which will be located on the St. John’s Lutheran Ministries campus on Mission Way, has been touted as the only one of its kind within a 200-mile radius and only the second of its kind in the state. The other is in Great Falls. Upon completion, the community will have access to the full continuum of end-of-life care services.

Construction meetings are held weekly to ensure the project stays on track. Progress on the home is especially poignant this month, which has been designated National Hospice Month.

“I encourage you to take time and talk to your family members about your wishes, and theirs, regarding end-of-life care,” said Lil Anderson, president and CEO of RiverStone Health. “It’s never too early; a conversation today can make future decisions easier for all involved.”

In years to come, “thousands of families” will be comforted at the new hospice home, celebrating the lives of their loved ones, Anderson said.

She and Kim Kaiser, executive director of the RiverStone Health Foundation, applauded the “generous community and donors” for supporting the effort to make a dream project a reality.

Construction is made possible only because RiverStone Health Foundation exceeded its $2.5 million fundraising goal. A $150,000 gift from the Fortin Foundation of Florida helped put the two-year capital campaign over the top.

The project is the culmination of a collaboration between local health care partners, community and business leaders and philanthropic donors.

“In the years to come the RiverStone Health Inpatient Hospice Home will give family members a peaceful memory of a loved one’s passing because (donors) cared enough to open your hearts and make a contribution,” Kaiser said.

The hallmark of the home is the difference it is expected to make in how end-of-life care is delivered within the regional health care system and by keeping families together during one of the most emotional and difficult times of their lives.

The new 8,400-square-foot home will be built on land set aside through a joint venture of Missions United, St. Vincent Healthcare and St. John’s Lutheran Ministries. It will house 12 private-care suites in a homelike environment for patients facing their final days.

The program will nurture all aspects of the patient’s body, mind and spirit as well as the well-being of the family members who will be left to carry on in their absence.

Contact Cindy Uken at cuken@billingsgazette.com or 657-1287.

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