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Signature Hospice offers glimpse into new end-of-life care complex

The new Signature Hospice House in Beaverton will open its doors to the community Friday night.

A grand opening gala will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on the 4.15-acre property at 7100 S.W. Scholls Ferry Road and includes tours of the 9,000-square-foot house and wooded grounds.

Those who attend the event will also have a chance to meet the team of medical professionals and support staff who will offer end-of-life care for patients and support for their families in their loved one's final days.

'This home really has taken on a life of its own,' said Jane Brandes, chief of operations, as she sat on a comfortable couch in the home's spacious living room. 'I can't wait to see families gathering together in here and see our team providing services to the patients in the space.

With the transformation of the former McGinnis homestead complete, Signature Hospice House becomes the second freestanding hospice home in the Portland metropolitan area.

'Jane and I had a vision,' said Trey Malicoat, president of Signature Hospice. 'We wanted this to be far more than just a facility for end-of-life care. We want it to really be a living, breathing haven of hope for families.

'In every room, we sat down and asked ourselves, 'What will this feel like for our patients and their loved ones as they go through the process of their final days?' It was our goal to make this a welcoming place for people of all ages.'

With that vision in mind, the mansion was stripped to the studs and its interior completely renovated into a home-like setting for up to 12 patients, designed by Eric Micheal Designs, to create a sense of warmth and comfort.

While it is licensed as a specialty hospital, the spacious home features three wings with individual rooms for patients, sprawling patios, a large living room with four seating areas for families and a full dining area that will offer complete meals for patients and families.

'This is a home and that's how we wanted it to feel,' said Eric Smith, senior designer with Eric Micheal Designs. 'It's not a hospital or nursing home. We designed it with patients and their families in mind.'

The design team placed little touches in every room to make the space feel welcoming, from the collection of books, vases, artwork and plants in the living room, to rich fabrics used to upholster furniture, and large doorways to allow patient beds to be moved into common areas and outdoor patios for visits with family members.

'It's the most beautiful building I could ever have imagined,' Malicoat said. 'It's spectacular.

'Our team is in place and I feel like all the little pieces have come together. People have already started calling because they want to move in here and that means a lot.'

In preparation for patients' arrival, the 30-member staff has participated in an extensive orientation and training process to ensure quality care.

'We are fully staffed with registered nurses, certified nurses assistants, licensed practical nurses, social workers, spiritual care coordinators and a cadre of volunteers for reception and support,' Brandes said. 'The staff has had a lot of time to bond together during training.'

Hospice care involves a team-oriented approach to expert medical care, pain management, emotional support and spiritual support expressly tailored to the patients' needs and wishes as they face death. Patients' family members receive support as well and are encouraged to spend as much quality time as they can with their loved one.

'The people we have hired are really enthusiastic and motivated to be here,' Malicoat said. 'It was important to us to find the right people who knew that this would be a sacred place.'

Once Medicare certification comes through in the coming weeks, the house will open its doors to patients.

Knowing that the rooms will be occupied by the end of the month feels like a dream come true for Malicoat.

'This has been a labor of love for the last two years,' he said. 'Now it's a huge reality to be at this point.

'It's extremely cool to see the vision come to life. It's so gratifying.'

More information about Signature Hospice House can be found at www.signaturehospice.com.