Kitsap’s inpatient hospice center closes

Hospice2_8940068_ver1.0_640_480Kitsap County’s only standalone inpatient hospice center closed this week.

The nonprofit Hopsice of Kitsap County board made the decision to shutter the Fred Lowthian Care Center at the end of September. Board President Suzanne Plemmons said a ceremony was held Monday to mark the official closing.

Plemmons said there were no patients living at the center at the time of the closure. Hospice of Kitsap has contracted  with skilled nursing facilities to provide inpatient care for clients in the future.

Plemmons said the transition has gone as well as possible, but “it was kind of bittersweet for the staff and volunteers.”

Hospice of Kitsap will spend January moving out of the East Bremerton space, which is owned by neighboring Stafford Healthcare at Belmont facility.

The Fred Lowthian Center provided end-of-life care more than 1,200 patients since opening in 2008. Hospice officials cited mounting budget shortfalls (the center lost $550,000 in 2013) and a shift toward in-home hospice care as reasons for the closure.

You can read my full story on the decision to close the center here.

The closure was part of a tumultuous year for Hospice of Kitsap, which fired its entire executive team in November. A search for a new executive director is underway.

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