The wait is finally over for Hospice of Jefferson County.
CEO Diana K. Woodhouse said the agency received confirmation from the state Department of Health late Friday night that it got final approval for the certificate of occupancy of its eight-bed residence.
“We’re going to begin accepting referrals Monday and patients on Tuesday,” she said. “We’ll need to notify individuals on our waiting list.”
The announcement came nearly a year after construction of the residence, also known as Hospice of Jefferson County at the Ellis farm, was completed. The residence and agency offices are at 1398 Gotham St.
Hospice has faced minor hurdles with the state Department of Health, Mrs. Woodhouse said, but those have since been cleared.
“There were just little things like moving an exit sign from one wall to another so it’s more visible, making sure windows don’t open all of the way, and we had to install a switch on the stove,” she said. “A lot of it was waiting for people in Albany to review it. We’re just thrilled at this point we can serve people.”
On Monday, Hospice staff will begin calling local discharge planners at area hospitals to notify them the residence is open for people who need hospice services.
“For these individuals, the general admission is (a diagnosis) of six months or less to live,” Mrs. Woodhouse said. “These beds, we’re initially going to reserve them for people with three months or less.”
People who have the most immediate need will be admitted first, she said.
“I don’t know how many referrals we’ll get and what will be appropriate because not every person will (fit criteria),” Mrs. Woodhouse said. “Our goal now is to be flexible and get experience and take care of our community.”
Staff of the 8,378-square-foot residence include registered nurses and licensed practical nurses, which offer round-the-clock care. A cook/cleaner is also on staff.
The $4.3 million project was made possible through agency fundraising and a $3.3 million state grant.
Mrs. Woodhouse, who became CEO Aug. 1, said she couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of Hospice during such an exciting transition, as the residence is a first for the agency.
“It’s a joy to come to work here every day,” she said.
People who would like to learn more about the residence and its admission process may call Hospice at 788-7323.