Some of the rooms are still marked with paper labels held in place with tape and the staff is still settling in, but Lumina Hospice & Palliative Care’s new headquarters is essentially complete and open for business.
The independent nonprofit end-of-life care provider, which had been operating in a 4,200-square-foot building on Northwest Professional Drive since 2001, moved into its new location at 720 SW Fourth St. on Aug. 28. With two stories and 10,000 square feet of space, the staff finally has some much-needed elbow room.
“We were bursting at the seams,” said clinical psychologist Seth Bernstein, Lumina’s board chair. “You grow and you need new space.”
Founded as Benton Hospice Service in 1979, the organization unveiled its new name in 2017 to reflect its broadening geographic base and expanding mission. Lumina now serves patients in Benton, Linn, Lincoln, Lane, Marion and Polk counties and provides symptom management and comfort care to people who are not yet ready for hospice services.
Its patient rolls also had been growing steadily. Lumina’s patient census currently stands at 94, up from an average of 47 in 2012.
“In that timeframe we’ve essentially doubled our patient base,” said Elizabeth French, a longtime former CH2M Hill manager who came on board as Lumina’s executive director earlier this year.
Knowing it needed a bigger office building, Lumina purchased the former Arnold Building in 2017 for $923,000 and brought in Gerding Construction to give the structure, built in 1964, a $2.6 million renovation.
The result is a warm and welcoming space with plenty of office and meeting space for staff and volunteers, as well as storage rooms for medical supplies, secure areas for confidential records management, a break room and even a “wellness room” where staff can get a shower or grab a few hours’ sleep on a couch that folds out into a bed.
One of the key features of the new building is a suite of ground-floor conference rooms with sliding partitions that can be opened up to provide a single large space for meetings, workshops and special events.
“It’s way more than a building where our administrative offices are,” French said. “We wanted to have a big, open space we could use or an open house and stuff like that.”
Lumina will get a chance to try out its new flex space during an open house from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, when the community is invited to tour the new building.
Hospice is intended as an alternative for people at the end of life who want to be cared for in familiar surroundings, such as their home or that of a relative, rather than a hospital.
Patients typically are referred to Lumina by hospitals, physicians, friends or family, French said. Hospice patients typically have been given a terminal diagnosis and have less than six months to live, while palliative care patients have not yet reached that stage but may be able to benefit from some of the same services.
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Lumina puts together a care team for each hospice patient that includes a nurse case manager, hospice aide, social worker and chaplain. There are also physical therapists and dietitians on staff who can be called in if needed, and volunteers are available to provide respite breaks for family caregivers and other services.
Typically, all members of the care team will stay with the patient throughout their final illness.
“We really try to manage that continuity of care,” French said.
The organization also offers grief counseling, resources for caregivers and other services.
Lumina accepts Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance, but in line with its nonprofit mission it also accepts patients who have no insurance coverage.
“We serve people regardless of ability to pay,” French said.
Some services, such as the community grief support group, are available to all members of the community.
French said Lumina is in a solid financial position, thanks in large part to a generous donor base. The organization paid cash for the site of its new headquarters and for much of the renovations, taking out a loan for the rest. The group hopes to be able to pay off most of that loan when it sells its former building, which it owns outright.
“This shiny new building is also a link to our past,” French said. “It reflects all the gifts that our donors and community members have made.”
Bernstein said donations will continue to be important to the organization as it strives to continue providing a high level of care for its patients in an environment that is becoming increasingly competitive.
While the other main hospice service in the area, Samaritan Health Services' Evergreen Hospice, is also a nonprofit, Bernstein said, that could change — and Lumina needs to be ready.
“There’s for-profit hospices moving into this part of the country,” Bernstein said. “They’re driving nonprofit hospices out of business, and we’re not going to be one of them.”