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New hospice care facility to open in Howard County

Construction already has begun on the new 10-bed inpatient Gilchrist hospice facility in Harmony Hall Assisted Living in the Howard County Health Park.

A “demolition party”  — where a wall was ceremoniously broken down within Harmony Hall to be replaced by the facility’s entranceway —  was held Oct. 27.

“Howard County patients and their families, as well as local government and community leaders, have advocated for many years for an inpatient presence within Howard County,” said Lori Mulligan, director of development and marketing at Gilchrist’s Hunt Valley facility.

Mulligan called the location for the new facility ideal — “less than two miles from Howard County General Hospital and within a health park that caters to seniors, who make up more than 80 percent of our patient population,” she added.

The new unit will serve patients needing acute care for pain and symptoms that can no longer be managed at home.

A dedicated landscaped entranceway, a chapel and areas for families to gather will be part of the plan.

Planning for the facility began in 2008, when Gilchrist Hospice Care received a grant from The Horizon Foundation to study the need for inpatient hospice services in Howard County. The study revealed that, despite the need for inpatient services by many Gilchrist patients, Howard County patients’ use of the existing Gilchrist services in Baltimore County was disproportionately low.

Mulligan noted that between January and November 2010, the Hunt Valley center cared for about 3,400 patients in Baltimore City, Baltimore, Howard, Harford and Carroll counties.

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