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Soon more residents of St. Anthony's de Greeff Hospice House will be able to worship in this on-site chapel. About 10 more rooms for patients will be built in an upcoming $5 million expansion. Bill Milligan photo

De Greeff Hospice House plans expansion

As patients begin to line up for a room at St. Anthony's de Greeff Hospice House, the center finalizes plans for expansion.

Between 10 to 12 patients currently are on a waiting list to enter the hospice program — a problem that soon should be alleviated with the addition of 10 patient rooms and new office space once the expansion is complete.

Square footage should more than double with the center's enhancements. The de Greeff House is currently 9,800 square feet and 12,000 feet will be added on in the expansion.

When the expansion is completed, the house will have 10 new rooms with a total of 20 rooms for patients. Four more rooms for office space also will be created. As the 10 existing patient rooms have been continuously full over the past two years, the expansion will allow for 10 more patients to be housed in the de Greeff House.

Office space in the de Greeff House currently is limited to two desks in the library area and is not conducive to comforting families because the area lacks privacy, Hospice Administrator Jackie Keohane told the Call. Keohane also is a registered nurse.

A volunteer hospice committee was formed last year to oversee an endowment/ expansion campaign with a goal of raising $5 million for the de Greeff House expansion. The committee has raised $2.2 million.

A groundbreaking for the start of the expansion is scheduled for Sept. 8. That day also will be the public kickoff for a continuing campaign to raise money for the house.

Keohane estimates that construction could start by the end of the summer or the beginning of the fall, unless the necessary funds have not been raised.

"As there are very few hospices like this across the nation, I think ours is a real treasure," Marlene Shelton, development/ special projects coordinator, told the Call. "This expansion has helped us really appreciate the partnership between St. Anthony's and the community. We're very thankful, and with this expansion we want to make sure that the rest of the community knows they can be part of the ministry too."

One of approximately 55 programs in the United States, the de Greeff House opened in 1999 after a capital campaign to raise funds for its building was completed. Construction was completely supported through donated funds and remains supported today by St. Anthony's and the community.

Keohane estimates that the house has been home to 600 patients over the years.

"If you combine the stay of all the patients, it averages out that the majority of the patients average a 45-day stay," she said. "Some exceed the amount of time they were given, but that is not too often."

While Keohane agrees that large donations help the house, small things make a difference too, she said.

"Half of the time donations come from family and friends of those who lost a loved one here," she said.

"Donations often come in lieu of flowers or memorials. From the start we have made every attempt to ensure that the house does not feel like a facility, but a home instead, and donations help us do that."

Anyone who would like to donate money to the de Greeff House expansion can contact Nancy Hessler at 535-7367. Donations also can be made online at the de Greeff House's Web site at

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