AUBURN – Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice marked the start of construction and its public fund-raising kickoff for its $3.7 million inpatient hospice house at a groundbreaking Wednesday on Stetson Road.

The campaign already has reached $1.18 million, which is 78 percent of its community fund-raising goal of $1.5 million, said Kim Wettlaufer, an Androscoggin Home Care board member and chairman of the hospice house capital campaign.

The balance will need to be raised in the public phase of the campaign, which will extend through March when the facility is scheduled to open. The remaining $2.2 million will be financed through Peoples Heritage Bank.

Wettlaufer acknowledged the leadership support of the campaign’s benefactor donors, the JTG Foundation, MeadWestvaco Corp. and Peoples Heritage Bank through the Banknorth Charitable Foundation.

He said Wednesday’s ceremony honored these three organizations and the many other individuals, businesses and foundations that have come forward to support this project. He said that Androscoggin Home Care’s board and committee members, volunteers and employees have raised $287,000 for the project.

The nonprofit is now “reaching out all residents, businesses and community organizations within the communities served by the agency for their support in the public campaign we are beginning this afternoon,” he said.

The “Journey of Hope” Capital Campaign Committee, involving board members, employees and community representatives, has been working the agency’s development staff since May 2003 in organizing the early phase donors. So far, the campaign has received more than 400 foundation, business, civic organization and individual gifts, as well more than 300 memorial gifts. Campaign donors have included the Libra Foundation, Betterment Fund, Davis Family Foundation, Androscoggin Bank’s Mainstreet Foundation, Dunlap Corp., Maine Bank & Trust and the Simmons Foundation.

The nonprofit’s hospice program offers a comprehensive range of services and support to help patients remain comfortable at home or in a long-term-care facility. But the agency saw an increasing number of individuals needing care for pain and symptom management and without enough caregiver support to remain safely at home.

“The vision for the 14-patient suite hospice house is to provide a homelike setting to meet the special needs of these patients in the final days and weeks of their care,” said David McDaniel, president and CEO of the nonprofit. “While the majority of hospice care will continue to be provided at home and in long-term-care facilities, having this specialized inpatient option is an essential part of AHCH’s commitment to a hospice program of excellence. We are very proud that the first hospice house in the state will serve the residents of our central and western Maine service area.”

The design of the one-story, 14,200-square-foot hospice house is the work of Harriman Associates of Auburn with input from committees made up of AHCH staff and community members. H.E. Callahan of Auburn will serve as the construction manager for the expected 10-month construction phase. Each year, the hospice house is expected to provide end-of life care to more than 300 hospice patients of all ages and their families.

Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice serves residents of Androscoggin, Franklin, Oxford and northern Cumberland counties. The agency provides comprehensive hospice care to more than 500 residents annually. More information can be found at the agency’s Web site, www.ahch.org.


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