Landscaping and some finishing touches to the building remain to be done, but the new Hospice Care Plus in-patient facility accepted it first patients over the weekend.

“Our first patient came in Friday,” said Gail McGillis, the organization’s chief executive, “and we expect three more over Saturday and Sunday.”

Hospice Care Plus will dedicate the facility at noon on April 23 with an open house from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., McGillis said.

The facility at the end of Cycle Drive off Boggs Lane includes 12 patient rooms, one with two beds.

The rooms, as well as the entire facility, are designed and furnished to resemble a home, said Aaron Housh, Hospice Care Plus outreach director.

The rooms also are spacious enough, 450 square feet, to accommodate several members of a patient’s family. The two-bed room is intended for pediatric patients, so a parent can stay with a child. It also can be used whenever two spouses both need hospice care.

The patient beds all have mattresses donated by Tempur-Pedic. The facility will be decorated throughout with Mitchell Tolle art work that depict a Kentucky spring with lots of dogwood and redbud blossoms.

Patient rooms all have hardwood floors with a comfortable couch and chair that might be found in anyone’s living room. The chair folds down to form a single bed while the couch easily turns into a double bed.

The building includes a playroom for children who have relatives in the facility.

Another feature that makes the facility feel more like home is Annie, the therapy dog. A golden retriever trained by Jo Brosius, Annie was on hand Friday to cheer the first patient.

The dog is allowed to roam the hallways, but is trained not to enter a room unless invited. To demonstrate her training, Annie sat at the threshold of a room Friday and waited patiently until she was beckoned.

“The patient’s face really brightened when he saw Annie and got to pet her,” said Dr. Hanan Budeiri, the facility’s medical director. “He and his wife really loved having Annie come in to visit. I think she will bring a lot of joy and comfort to our patients.”

Annie wears a jacket that reads, “Ask to pet me. I’m friendly.”

The building was constructed on farm land, and all patient rooms look out on a pastoral setting. Cattle often graze in the surrounding fields. External double doors on each room open to a spacious patio where patients can enjoy being outdoors. The patios will be surrounded by a garden-like landscape, Housh said.

The facility has 54 volunteers who have received most of their training and will be coming in next week to get oriented to the new building.

Hospice Care Plus has raised $2.9 million toward the facility’s $5.2 million cost.

“We’re past the halfway point, so we’re confident about attaining the full amount, Housh said.

The organization’s next big fundraiser will be on Derby Eve, May 2, at Acres of Land Winery.

Bill Robinson can be reached at or at 623-1669, Ext. 267.

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