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New Free-Standing Hospice Provides Comfort, Beauty and Blessings

March 8, 2009
By LINDA COMINS Arts & Living Editor

Finishing touches are being put on a beautiful new hospice house that will provide in-patient care for area residents in a home-like, serene setting near Wheeling.

Valley Hospice is preparing to open Liza's Place Care Center South, the area's first free-standing hospice facility. Special tours for Valley Hospice board members and invited guests are planned this week. The agency's southern office staff will move into the complex later this month. The target date for admitting patients is April 7, said R.J. Konkoleski, executive director of the Valley Hospice Foundation.

Liza's Place - named in memory of Wheeling native Liza Hess Hogan Gebhardt - is located on the pastoral grounds of Mount St. Joseph on land donated by the Congregation of St. Joseph. Valley Hospice's new brick and stone building is situated on a plateau below the CSJ congregational center. A new roadway winding along the property's natural contours leads to the hospice complex which includes a memorial garden and a "green" bowl-shaped rain garden.

Article Photos

Wheeling interior designer Mary Beth Hughes, who selected
furnishings and decor for Liza’s Place Care Center South, admires the view from one of 12 patient rooms in the new hospice facility. Hughes chose a palette of Southwestern-style colors to complement the building’s architecture.

Photos by Linda Comins

The $4.9 million, state-of-the-art hospice care center will fill an increasing need for short-term, end-of-life, in-patient care for residents of Ohio, Marshall and Belmont counties, said Cynthia Bougher, Valley Hospice chief executive officer. The facility can accommodate 12 patients at a time.

Currently, Valley Hospice operates an in-patient unit at Trinity East Medical Center in Steubenville for residents of Hancock, Brooke and Jefferson counties. The agency also provides hospice care in patients' homes and in area long-term care facilities in West Virginia and Ohio.

"Valley Hospice has had the privilege of serving the residents of the Ohio Valley for the past 24 years. Liza's Place will add a whole new dimension to the care we are able to provide for our patients and their families," Bougher said. "We are grateful for, and have been humbled by, the support we received from the community for the development for Liza's Place."

Residents of the nearby congregation are pleased to have "new neighbors," Sister Marguerite O'Brien, CSJ, said. "We're just delighted to have been able to partner with Valley Hospice and that the proximity to our congregational center hopefully will bring many blessings to all of us," she commented.

Wheeling interior designer Mary Beth Hughes selected the furnishings and decor for the new facility. She chose a palette of 31 Southwestern-style colors to complement the one-story building's Arts and Crafts-influenced architecture.

Creating a bright, cheery atmosphere, Hughes designed six color schemes, one for each patient room in a wing of six bedrooms. The six color combinations are repeated on the other wing of six patient bedrooms.

Each bedroom's two-color palette is complemented by a trio of accent colors in the wall tiles of the adjoining bathroom. "There is one extra accent color in each bathroom," Hughes said. A patterned, wrap-around curtain for the wet-room shower draws all of the colors together in each suite, she pointed out.

The decor features sage green, earth tones, buttery gold, sesame yellow, adobe pink, periwinkle, apple green and several shades of blue. Hughes said landscape photographs by Pittsburgh artist Howard Blichfeldt are featured in each patient room and serve as a removable cover for the wall oxygen units.

Nine different patterns of carpeting of various colors can be found throughout the building. Cabinetry work was done locally by Dave Shutler and Cooper's Cabinet Shop. "We shopped locally as much as possible," Hughes remarked.

In addition to a bed and a nightstand, each patient room is furnished with a comfortable chair and sleeper sofa, Hughes said. The room has a set of French doors that open onto a private patio for observing the scenic beauty of the area. "The patient's bed can be moved through the French doors to their own private patio," she said.

The family atmosphere of Liza's Place is evident in the main family living room located in the central area of the structure. The large, open-beamed room features a floor-to-ceiling faux stone electric fireplace, comfortable couches and chairs and flat-screen television. The fireplace serves both the living room and an adjacent patio room.

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