Community tours Compass’ newly renovated Hope and Healing Center

Categories: People & Places.

(Pictured above L to R: Audrey Scott; Susan Brandon, former bereavement coordinator; and current Compass grief counselors Linda Turner and Ann OConnor.)

Compass Regional Hospice, serving Queen Anne’s, Kent and Caroline counties in Maryland, recently invited community members to tour its newly renovated Hope and Healing Center in Centreville, home of the nonprofit’s Grief Support Services and its residential hospice center.

The renovations include updates to counseling rooms and additional spaces, which will be used to offer individuals and families grief support healing services, such as massage, yoga and reiki. Compass Regional Hospice currently is seeking massage, yoga and reiki practitioners who are willing to donate their time and talents to the Hope and Healing Center.

The additional spaces and services are intended to fill a community need for these grief support healing services. While the addition of healing services like massage, reiki and yoga will be offered for a small donation, Compass’ grief counseling is a free community service offered to anyone who is suffering the loss of a loved one.

“For the past several years, we have envisioned being able to broaden the scope of our grief support program offerings in an effort to meet the needs of our community,” said Rhonda Knotts, Grief Support Services supervisor. “Our excitement over our recent renovations is beyond words, as we begin to plan a wide variety of therapeutic offerings, such as self-help workshops; yoga tailored toward those suffering from loss; massage therapy; grief support groups; and artistic healing classes. It is rewarding to see our vision come to fruition.”

The next phase in the construction of the facility at 255 Comet Drive will begin after the new year and include the addition of four beds to the Hospice Center in Centreville, bringing the facility to a total of 10 beds.

This past September, Compass Regional Hospice hosted a groundbreaking and donor recognition ceremony to honor the upcoming expansion of its Hospice Center in Centreville from a six- to a 10-bed facility. About 100 guests attended the afternoon event.

Heather Guerieri, executive director, Compass Regional Hospice; and president of the Hospice and Palliative Care Network of Maryland, spoke during the event.

“This is a milestone achievement for Compass Regional Hospice. Since 1985, we have had the honor of serving the residents of Queen Anne’s County, and more recently, in 2014, we regionalized and now serve the communities of Kent and Caroline counties, as well. We are not just a hospice provider, but also the regional provider of grief support services to our three counties,” Guerieri said. “With the growing need for these grief and bereavement services in our communities, so grows the necessity for expanded space to be able to fill those needs, hence the need for the current renovations to our Hope and Healing Center.”

Guerieri said about the upcoming hospice center expansion, “In an effort to never have to turn away someone in need, we embarked on this initiative to expand our Hospice Center in Centreville, growing the facility from six to 10 beds. Our community deserves quality inpatient hospice care, and through this expansion, we are making sure they have access to that care.”

Guerieri said she is honored to lead one of the larger nonprofits on the Eastern Shore, which employs more than 100 staff members and takes care of about 100 patients daily.

Compass Regional Hospice is just $500,000 shy of its initial capital campaign goal of $4 million, a campaign the organization embarked on in 2016. The campaign will fund the four-bed expansion to the Hospice Center in Centreville; the renovations to the Hope and Healing Center, which houses Compass’ Grief Support Services programs; the renovations and establishment of the new Hospice Center in Chestertown, which opened in March 2018; an endowment fund to support Compass Regional Hospice in Queen Anne’s, Kent and Caroline counties; and the retirement of the mortgage debt on Compass’ main office building in Centreville, so it can focus its funding and efforts on what’s really important – its patients and their families.

More than 214 individuals, families, companies and private foundations have participated and donated toward the campaign.

In addition to embarking on the expansion in 2019, Dr. Thomas Walsh, the organization’s chief medical director, will come on as the organization’s first full-time chief medical director in January 2019. Walsh has been the chief medical director, on a contractual basis, with Compass Regional Hospice, since March 2017. He is a founding partner and former board member of Maryland Primary Care Physicians and currently serves as the clinical director for its Queenstown site. He will be retiring from the practice at the end of 2018. He also recently was elected to serve as a judge of the Queen Anne’s County orphan’s court.

During the recent groundbreaking ceremony, Walsh said, “After a couple weeks (from agreeing to come on board in March 2017), I began to realize what an amazing group of people work in hospice, and their commitment to and devotion to taking care of, not only the people who are suffering from terminal illnesses, but their families,” Walsh said. “Without their amazing commitment, we couldn’t do what we do for the people of Queen Anne’s, Kent and Caroline counties. Every day, I’m so glad I got that phone call from (Heather Guerieri) last spring and that I can be part of it.”

Walsh said the organization takes care of around 100 patients daily in their homes, in skilled nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and in the organization’s residential facilities in Centreville and Chestertown.

“Not only is this (expansion) a new beginning for (Compass Regional Hospice), but it’s a new beginning for me,” Walsh said, “because starting January 1, I’m going to be Compass’ full-time chief medical director and I get to be here all the time. That’s very, very exciting and heartwarming for me because it’s amazing work. Having been in the community and referred people to hospice for 30-plus years, I knew that they did good work, but to actually see it every day and to work with the people who do it is just amazing.”

For more information about Compass Regional Hospice, visit compassregionalhospice.org.

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