An expansion project planned for Hospice of Jefferson County will be of great benefit to its clients.

Officials at the facility in Watertown want to increase the number of patient rooms and enhance the ventilation system, among other renovations. This is in part a response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, which we’ve endured since early last year.

Improvements to the ventilation system will do a better job at removing presence of the viral particles from the air that people breathe. This will reduce the chance that they’ll become infected.

But authorities have had to find ways to lower the costs of the project, which means scaling it back. They’ll need to raise the necessary funds for much of the proposal.

“It became clear that Hospice would need a new strategy. So the first step was to downsize the project, eliminating some site work and decreasing the overall cost by $1 million to the current $2.4 million estimate. The project includes a new patient care wing, new support spaces, landscaping, furnishings and some limited renovations to the existing facility,” according to a story published Nov. 30 by the Watertown Daily Times. “The cost of building materials continues to escalate due to tariffs and COVID-19 production declines. Since the original estimates, the cost of materials has increased by approximately 8%, and fundraising during the pandemic has been challenging. Hospice recently distributed a community newsletter asking for donations to assist the organization in bringing its vision to life. To reduce the cost of the project, the scope is now four new patient rooms instead of eight. The four new rooms will be similar to the current residence rooms, but there will be additional acoustics in the wing to care for a wider range of symptomatic patients, in an effort to improve the serenity and privacy of the environment for all patients and families.

“Architects redesigned the expansion to include enhanced ventilation systems with increased filtration and ionization treatment. Two rooms will have the capability to be converted to negative pressure rooms to enhance infection control. This expands the facility’s ability to support community residents and to advance the community’s ability to mitigate and manage COVID-19,” the article reported. “In addition, this project includes expanded space for patients, families and staff. A room for recreational therapy, a solarium, a family room with a refreshment area and TV, as well as a small meditation space will be added for patients and families. A second nursing station, a nursing lounge, and improved storage will be added for the staff. A healing garden, accessible from several interior locations, is designed to enhance the serenity of the landscape. The walking path around the pond will be resurfaced with stamped concrete for easier wheelchair access and mobility, and the Macsherry Reflection Garden will be moved to improve access so more patients can enjoy it. Additional parking spaces will be added at the front of the building as required by state regulations.”

Hospice of Jefferson County serves a vital role in our community. This project will enhance the facility, improving conditions for its patients within the staff’s care.

Families with loved ones there have reached a poignant moment in their lives. They should take comfort in knowing that the coronavirus is being better managed. We encourage residents to support the fundraising required to move this project forward.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1


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