Foundation breaks ground on SECU Hospice House in Franklin

Drawing of SECU Hospice House - Front Elevation

Hospice House Foundation of WNC (HHFWNC) is breaking ground on the construction of a Hospice House to be located at 272 Maple Street in Franklin. This freestanding hospice inpatient facility will house six patient suites and serve the six far western counties of North Carolina and northeast Georgia. It will give hospice patients in this rural mountain region a new option for inpatient care, increasing the percentage of WNC residents living within 35 miles of such a facility from 0% to an estimated 74%.

Amenities will feature a therapeutic spa for patient comfort and relaxation, and patient rooms with balconies overlooking a beautiful mountain-range, bestowing a sense of peace and serenity. Patient/family living space will include a kitchen, dining room, family/living rooms, sun/screen rooms, interfaith chapel, and private meeting space. The Franklin Hospice House will provide a home-like setting with 24-hour inpatient and respite care, while providing for the physical, emotional, and spiritual suffering of people facing serious illness and easing the overwhelming burden felt by their loved ones. It is estimated that the facility will serve 200 hospice patients per year.

The project has garnered much community support, including a $1 million challenge grant from the NC State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) and numerous other gifts ranging from $5 to $300,000. In recognition of SECU’s leadership gift, the Franklin Hospice House will be named, SECU Hospice House. Michele Alderson, president of HHFWNC and one of its founding Board members, expressed incredible gratitude, on behalf of the entire Board, for the donors in our communities … for their support and trust. She also expressed confidence that the start of construction will bring about additional support from the community, helping to close the gap to HHFWNC’s campaign goal.

Hospice House Foundation of WNC will hold a groundbreaking ceremony Friday, Feb. 22, at 2 p.m., at the site of the future SECU Hospice House. Building construction, which has been awarded to Western Builders of Sylva, and will take 12 months to complete. SECU Hospice House is expected to open early 2020 and will be operated by Four Seasons Compassion for Life, a respected not-for-profit hospice care provider already serving far western NC.

“Four Seasons’ patient census in the six most western counties of North Carolina has grown significantly over the past year,” said Millicent Burke-Sinclair, Ed.D, MBA, chief executive officer for Four Seasons, adding that, “this speaks volumes to the need for a Hospice House in this area.” 

She added that this new facility reinforces Four Seasons’ commitment to assuring a full complement of quality and compassionate trusted care for our region. Four Seasons plans to employ 10 employees at the future SECU Hospice House in Franklin and will provide inpatient care regardless of ability to pay.

“HHFWNC was founded with the intent of securing funds for the construction of a Hospice House, the first step in filling the critical need in continuum of end-of-life care in our rural mountain region, and looks forward to a long-standing partnership with Four Seasons for its operation,” said Alderson.

About Hospice House Foundation of WNC

HHFWNC is a 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to raise funds for a hospice inpatient facility for the six far western counties of North Carolina and northeast Georgia. 

To learn more about this important regional initiative, contact HHFWNC’s president, Michele Alderson, at (828)524-6375.v