LAKEWOOD — Chautauqua Hospice and Palliative Care on Tuesday cut the ribbon on its new facility, the Star Hospice House.
The property, 20 W. Fairmount Ave. in Lakewood, allows for those in need of hospice care to live in on site and includes rooms and living spaces where families can rest and prepare meals.
Bert and Mary Rappole, campaign co-chairs, said they were thrilled to have been part of the process.
“We were excited, created a committee and made plans, then COVID-19 hit us in March,” Bert Rappole said. “We didn’t know what to do — everything was shut down. We didn’t know what was going to happen. But, in spite of that, all the community understood the needs, they made this happen and we were able to reopen and fundraising started in June of 2020. It was all very successful because of the community.”
Mary Rappole said the couple had no experience as co-chairs of a fundraiser but were successful because they had a “deep belief about the philosophy that all people should have quality and comfort care at the end of life.”
“I thank each of you for listening to our story,” she said, “and we hope that you’ll keep listening to the vision of the YMCA and their building project, the UCAN mission and their project for shelter for homeless women, and The Salvation Army and their plans for a new shelter for the domestic violence victims. Thank you because now we are assured that the end of life care is now complete.”
Shauna Anderson, president and CEO of Chautauqua Hospice and Palliative Care, also addressed those who gathered Tuesday for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“Thanks to our incredible donors, Chautauqua County will have a Hospice House for the first time increasing our ability to deliver superior care in a homelike setting that is safe and compassionate,” Anderson said. “Completing the Star Hospice House serves a profound need in our community and realizes a longstanding dream of CHPC to build a caring environment devoted to both patients and their families.”
County Executive PJ Wendel said he has been closely watching the progress of the Star Hospice House as he resides in the area. He was glad to see the project finished and ready to care for those who need it.
“What this Star House brings to those families is a sense of peace and a sense of spending their last days in their own home or what is going to be their home as they depart. One of the things that has been resonating in the last couple of weeks in dealing with different situations that have occurred is how we take care of one another. How compassionate we are as a community and what we do for one another, especially here in Chautauqua County, is something I’m very proud to represent.”
Lakewood Mayor Randy Holcomb said he was glad to be in attendance and thanked everyone who made the Star Hospice House possible.
“It is truly a pleasure to witness the progress of this development,” he said “The vital service that hospice provides is compared to no other. For those families who have not needed the vital care yet, rest assured that it will be here for us all. For those families that have needed hospice care for their loved ones, such as my own family, please know that we are forever grateful.”
The project began in 2019 when CHPC purchased a home adjacent to its Lakewood office with the intent of renovating it for a dedicated hospice facility. Despite supply chain challenges and in the middle of a global pandemic, CHPC exceeded its own fundraising goals with more than $2.7 million in donations.
“The Star Hospice House will be more than a medical facility,” said Laura McCollough, residence director. “Our goal is to provide the best care possible in a calm, home-like environment for patients and their families. Staff will be trained on our patient-centered philosophy and policies to prepare them to best meet patients’ needs with compassion and flexibility.”