Metro-East News

Hospice home in Edwardsville closing sooner than expected

Scott Watson thought he found the perfect place – the hospice home in Edwardsville – for his aunt to live out her final days. However, he’s being forced to move his aunt, Helen Galloway, 93, from what’s been her home since August to a new facility.
Scott Watson thought he found the perfect place – the hospice home in Edwardsville – for his aunt to live out her final days. However, he’s being forced to move his aunt, Helen Galloway, 93, from what’s been her home since August to a new facility. Provided photo

Scott Watson thought he found the perfect place — the hospice home in Edwardsville — for his aunt to live out her final days.

However, he’s being forced to move his aunt, Helen Galloway, 93, from what’s been her home since August to a new facility. Watson, 40, of Alhambra, said he was notified two weeks ago that by Friday he would have to find some place else for his aunt to live.

Watson knew the Hospice Home Relais Bonne Eau was closing. However, that wasn’t supposed to happen until the end of this year, and Watson didn’t think his aunt would live that long.

Hospice of Southern Illinois announced its decision to close the facility at the end of 2015 in August. The home, located at 7325 Marine Road, opened in March 2010 and has 16 patient rooms.

Hospice Home Relais Bonne Eau in Edwardsville was slated to close by the end of this year. Now, it will close Friday.

Lisa Phillipson, spokeswoman for Hospice of Southern Illinois, said the decision to close the facility Nov. 6 was due to staffing – hospice staff members had found new jobs.

“It’s a 24-hour facility and for the care to be exceptional you have to have staff,” she said.

All the families of loved ones at the facility were notified of the decision in early October, according to Phillipson.

“We reached out to any family and let them know we would work with them to find the best place possible for their loved ones,” she said. “We want the whole transition to be as good as possible.”

Currently, Relais Bonne Eau has three patients. The average stay for a hospice patient is 21 days, according to Phillipson.

It’s a 24-hour facility and for the care to be exceptional you have to have staff.

Lisa Phillipson, spokeswoman for Hospice of Southern Illinois

Watson said he’s disappointed with the decision to close the home early.

“I don’t feel that they are holding up their end of the obligation. ... Because of their financial condition, they want to kick her out early,” he said. “My aunt has made it longer than any doctor or nurse have given her ... my aunt will not make it until the end of the year. It’s just a matter of time.”

Watson praised the care his aunt has received at the facility.

“I don’t want to bash the facility, because the people that work there are great,” he said.

“I’ve never been around more caring people; it was exactly what my aunt needed in her end days.”

Phillipson said Relais Bonne Eau was a “wonderful place. Of course, people don’t want to move out of there,” she said. “Our No. 1 priority is working with these families and staff. People are just sad. It’s just a hard time.”

Watson was able to find another facility where his aunt can live, but he’s concerned the ride to her new home will be painful for her, since she hasn’t been out of bed since Aug. 25 due to her condition. Galloway has congestive heart failure and has a severe bed sore on her back she got at the facility where she was prior to Relais Bonne Eau.

“My aunt is in such bad condition. Now they are making me load her into an ambulance,” Watson said. “Her comfort is the only thing I care about. I’m being forced to hurt her, because they want to close.”

He’s also worried the care won’t be the same.

“If my aunt so much as moaned, they got up to see what’s wrong,” Watson said. “She’s not going to get the care that she got there.”

My aunt is in such bad condition. Now they are making me load her into an ambulance. Her comfort is the only thing I care about. I’m being forced to hurt her, because they want to close.

Scott Watson of Alhambra

Watson described the hospice home closing as a “bad deal. They were great people; it was a great facility,” he said. “If there was anyway I can keep her there, I would never move her. ... I think you should honor your obligation and stay open until the end of the year.”

Since it opened, Hospice of Southern Illinois estimated the hospice home has cared for about 345 patients as of the end of August and had 20 employees. Those employees who stayed until the final day will receive a retention bonus, Phillipson said.

The 17-acre site and $3 million for the hospice home was donated by the Bon Eau Foundation. Hospice plans to sell the facility.

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.

Jamie Forsythe: 618-239-2562, @BND_JForsythe

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