Details revealed for new, expanded HospiceCare home

Details of the new Seven Mile Beach home for Cayman HospiceCare have emerged, pegging the worth of the project at $3 million, and at least doubling the size of the present facility. 

The new 1-acre headquarters will expand the 3,000-square-foot Conch Shell House on North Sound Road, providing an administration building and an inpatient unit, each measuring 3,000 square feet, plus outdoor areas, gardens and covered walkways. 

The new facility, as yet unnamed, is likely to be in the neighborhood of Coconut Joe’s restaurant, although the location remains unconfirmed by Hospice Chairman Chris Duggan. 

“We’ve identified a piece of land in the West Bay Road area. We’ve submitted our request to [the] Planning [Department],” he said, reluctant to name the spot “contingent to being approved.” 

A ceremonial groundbreaking is likely to take place “later this year, sometime in this last quarter, although a few things have to happen first, putting various plans in place,” Mr. Duggan said, adding that construction would start “as soon as possible.” He did not name a date. 

Architect John Doak is contributing his design expertise to HospiceCare “all in a good cause; it’s something we are happy to do.” Pending arrangements, he said, “we are tentatively thinking sometime next year” to start construction. 

“With the best will in the world,” Mr. Doak said, “we could start and finish within a year. It’s … a nine-month project to build. It’s not unlike doing a house.” 

Costs are hard to pinpoint, he said, because community response to the project has been overwhelming. “Building materials … every individual, an amazing number of companies, the generosity … we are thinking of starting a sign-up sheet just to keep it all organized.” 

Tiles, glass, wood, cement, rock, bricks and mortar are just some of the materials offered, he said. Others have offered in-kind services, such as air-conditioning. 

“Everyone is doing this pro bono,” Mr. Doak says. “Contractors supply labor, building suppliers donate materials. Costs to build, then, are always an underlying question. The project may be worth about $3 million,” he said, but the rate is reduced by contributions of land, as government and professional fees are waived, equipment and furniture is offered. “They all have their effect.” 

A major contributor to meeting the costs has been fundraiser Derek Haines, security chief for Dart Realty, former RCIPS detective and veteran long-distance runner. 

In June, Mr. Haines fulfilled a long-standing promise to HospiceCare, donating $1.35 million toward construction of the home after gaining pledges for the six marathons he ran worldwide in 2014. 

While Mr. Duggan was unsure that Mr. Haines’s gift would cover all the costs, “Derek’s contribution will go a long way,” he said. “It’s an incredible community contribution.” 

The new facility will comprise two one-story buildings, Mr. Duggan said, noting that one side is for administration. 

“The in-patient unit has nurses stations and four bedrooms, family rooms and lounges where families can spend the night if they wish. Each room looks out onto a private garden. There will be common areas with music and TV and a coffee area,” he said. 

“Our care factor is to care for patients in the home, but that’s not always possible, so one of the things we do is create a home environment, trying to make it as ‘homey’ as possible.” 

The location makes this environment possible, Mr. Doak said. 

“It’s perfect. The site is magnificent,” he said. “It sits in a woodland landscape with undisturbed vegetation,” enabling exploitation of natural light and creation of private gardens. 

Danielle Coleman, director of operations and development at HospiceCare, said the new inpatient rooms would enable expanded care, improving on the twin rooms at the Pines Retirement Home. 

“Our inpatient facility at the Pines is a two-bedroom unit and I would estimate it at about 800 square feet to 1,000 square feet,” she said. “We are fairly certain that the new inpatient facility will attract more inpatients and has room for expansion.” 

She welcomed the projected reduction in operating costs the new facility would offer. 

“It costs approximately $1,800 a day to run Hospice,” she said, covering rent for Conch Shell House and the Pines, electric bills, telephones, salaries, equipment, medications for patients, music therapy, fuel and car insurance – “given that 95 percent of our patients are at home” – as well as public liability insurance and more. 

In the new headquarters, Ms. Coleman said, “we will no longer be paying two rents, and the building will be made with good insulation, so we don’t estimate a significant increase [in costs]. We will likely have more inpatients who will stay for longer periods,” now limited to two weeks. 

Not only will the new home expand HospiceCare facilities, Ms. Coleman said, but it will also provide increased space for the range of new programs the organization has recently launched. 

New services, led by volunteers, include a clinical volunteer program; lunch club; music, art and animal therapy; individual and family counseling, replacing the years-old Full Circle grief recovery group; yoga; therapeutic massage; reiki; and a bereavement program. 

“We believe in a holistic approach, dealing with mind, body and spirit, providing a sense of comfort and well-being to our patients and their families,” Ms. Coleman said. 

HospiceCare’s newly launched lunch club meets at the Conch Shell House.

Hospice chairman Chris Duggan, right, congratulates Derek Haines after his marathon fundraising effort for the new facility. - Photo: Ron Shillingford

Hospice chairman Chris Duggan, right, congratulates Derek Haines after his marathon fundraising effort for the new facility. – Photo: Ron Shillingford