Good Samaritan breaks ground on hospice house
PRESCOTT - After four years and many delays, Bob and Barbara Mariano's dream of a hospice house in the Prescott area is coming true.
Tomorrow, April 22, at 9 a.m., the Mariano's will attend the groundbreaking for the first hospice house in the Prescott area.
The dream of a hospice house in the Prescott area began in February 2005. A relative of Barbara Mariano died in a hospice house in New York, and she "lived the care my aunt received. I thought we needed something like it in Prescott."
The Mariano's met with officials from Adult Care Services in September 2006 to discuss the creation of a hospice house. They formed a steering committee and on Sept. 1, 2006, ACS agreed to build a small hospice house. However, just one week later, Sept. 8, 2006, ACS withdrew its support and the Mariano's were back at square one.
The steering committee had collected $400,000 in donations and the donors had the option of a refund, leaving their money with ACS or having their money follow the efforts to build a hospice house.
Barbara Mariano said Dr. Sam Downing met with Paula Kneisl, executive director of Good Samaritan Society. On Nov. 13, 2007, after a series of meetings, the Good Samaritan Society Board of Directors approved the construction of an in-residence hospice house on the organization's property in Prescott.
Bob Mariano said the Good Samaritan Society board of directors required him to create a business plan.
"This is the first hospice house in the history of the Good Samaritan Society," Bob Mariano said.
Kneisl said the Mariano's timing was perfect.
"When Barbara and Dr. Downing came to us, Good Samaritan was looking at creating a hospice house, it was the one piece we were missing. We were looking at an in-patient, general hospice house that was Medicare certified."
Kneisl said, "One of the reasons this makes sense is that people can use their Medicare benefits."
Good Samaritan Society is working with BMA Architects and McMillan Construction to build the hospice house.
The cost of the hospice house is $2.5 million. However, since the Good Samaritan Society already owns the land, construction costs are $1.4 million.
The Mariano's and others dedicated to the idea of a hospice house in Prescott have raised enough money to pay for construction.
Barbara Mariano said every penny received from donations is in a restricted account with the Good Samaritan Society.
The hospice house will include 10 individual in-patient rooms, each with its own bathroom and patio.
The hospice house will provide short-term stays for hospice patients - those needing their medications adjusted or those facing imminent death. The average stay would be less than two weeks.
"The hospice house is for people like me, who don't want to die at home," Bob Mariano said.
The Mariano's expect McMillan Construction to complete work by the end of this year or early January 2010.
For now, the working name of the project is the Good Samaritan Society Prescott Hospice House.
Kneisl said the hospice house is "For the Good Samaritan Society and the greater Prescott community. It is non-denominational and will accept people of all faiths."
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