Metro-East News

‘Very sad’: Hospice of Southern Illinois to close center in Edwardsville

Hospice home in Edwardsville closing

Lisa Phillipson with Hospice of Southern Illinois talks about the decision to close the organization's hospice home in Edwardsville at the end of this year. Jamie Forsythe/News-Democrat
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Lisa Phillipson with Hospice of Southern Illinois talks about the decision to close the organization's hospice home in Edwardsville at the end of this year. Jamie Forsythe/News-Democrat

Hospice of Southern Illinois will be closing its hospice home in Edwardsville by the end of this year.

A statement on Hospice of Southern Illinois’ website reads as follows: “Hospice of Southern Illinois opened our Hospice Home Relais Bonne Eau because we saw a need in the communities we serve. However, the needs of our community and hospice patients nationally are changing. And, several trends in the broader healthcare environment are making it difficult for independent hospice homes to operate sustainably, and those trends continue to impact us, as well. Therefore, we have made the difficult decision to close the facility at the end of 2015.”

Sweeping changes in healthcare both nationally and statewide have made it “very, very difficult for an independent hospice home to be viable,” said Lisa Phillipson, spokeswoman for Hospice of Southern Illinois. “The trends of all the changes both state and federally...have made it nearly impossible to be sustained.”

She said the decision to close the center, which is the only hospice home it operates in the metro-east, was made last week by administrators and the board of directors at Hospice of Southern Illinois, and officials wanted to give patients, families and staff members ample notice of the closure to lessen the burden.

“It’s very sad. It’s a very special place,” Phillipson said. “The hospice home is such a special kind of care.”

The name Relais Bonne Eau loosely translated in French means “a place of rest by good water.” The home, located at 7325 Marine Road, opened in March 2010 and has 16 patient rooms. It also has community areas, which include a nondenominational chapel, a large family room, a library and two meeting rooms.

Since it opened, Phillipson estimated the hospice home has cared for about 345 patients.

All 20 employees at the hospice home are being offered a retention bonus to stay until Dec. 31. Phillipson said she didn’t know the amount of the retention bonus.

The employees can also apply for other positions with the Belleville and Maryville offices of Hospice of Southern Illinois. Some staff members are job-shadowing other employees to see if they would be interested in that position, according to Phillipson.

The 17-acre site and $3 million for the hospice home was donated by the Bon Eau Foundation. Phillipson said hospice plans to sell the facility. “We will be looking to work with someone else in the health care field,” she said.

However, it’s not on the market yet. “We have patients and families there, and we don’t want to disrupt anybody,” Phillipson said.

Community members supported the project through a fundraising campaign where bricks were purchased and engraved for loved ones. “The bricks themselves at the building are part of the structure,” Phillipson said.

Every donor has been contacted, she said. Anyone with concerns about the brick they purchased or anything else with the hospice home’s closing, Phillipson said, can contact Hospice of Southern Illinois at 1-800-233-1708 or 618-235-1703.

“We want to make this process as smooth as possible for everyone,” she said.

Phillipson said she didn’t know how many engraved bricks there were or how much money was raised through the fundraising effort.

Relais Bonne Eau is still accepting patients and is currently caring for 10 individuals, Phillipson said. It hasn’t been decided yet when the facility will stop accepting new patients.

“The average stay for a hospice patient is so short,” she said. “We haven’t made that decision yet.”

Hospice of Southern Illinois will continue to operate and provide hospice home care service for patients throughout a 27-county region. The organization is expected to serve about 2,700 patients this year. Next year, Hospice of Southern Illinois, which began in 1981, will celebrate its 35th anniversary.

Contact reporter Jamie Forsythe at jforsythe1@bnd.com or 618-239-2562. Follow her on Twitter: @BND_JForsythe.

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