The Joliet Area Community Hospice broke ground on the expansion of its facility Wednesday.
The hospice announced its $3.5 million capital campaign to add a 12-room addition to the hospice homes, and to renovate and enhance the existing structure.
Hospice CEO Mary Sheehan said the campaign has raised $3.3 million toward its target. Sheehan said the hospice is the first in the state to break ground on a 20-bed residence.
“As you know, dying is hard enough,” Sheehan told the crowd Wednesday. “When the leadership team and I had to triage a waiting list for who could be admitted here, it broke our hearts.”
The project involves increasing the maximum hospice inpatient unit size to 20 beds by adding four patient rooms, a multifamily kitchen and dining area, a larger commercial kitchen and a larger spiritual space, according to a news release. Existing patient rooms also will be renovated with an added refrigerator, sink, new furniture and fixtures and French doors leading to private outside patios. The hospice also will move nursing staff to a location adjacent to patient rooms.
Several elected officials and representatives from the Joliet, Crest Hill and Will County, and state Rep. Natalie Manley, D-Joliet, among others, were on hand for the groundbreaking.
The Joliet Area Community Hopsice began in 1982 and opened the first freestanding hospice inpatient unit in Illinois in 2004. Last year, the hospice cared for more than 2,000 patients with 517 of them in the inpatient unit, according to the release. The hospice said with greater capacity, it can care for even more patients in the future.