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First hospice home opens in York

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The first-ever York County hospice home is now under renovations, preparing to open for county residents.

The Pappus House, a non-profit organization, has secured a three-bedroom home on a York Township farm. The hospice home will be open to adults diagnosed with a terminal illness in their last three months of life.

Collaborating with the individual’s hospice care provider, the founders of the community-supported home, Susan Nelson & Michelle Siewert, aim to bring peace and belonging to those in their final days.

“We’re a supportive alternative family for them and an alternative space,” says Pappus House co-founder, Susan Nelson. “It’s another option other than being in a hospital or in a nursing home or some other institutionalized facility.”

Renovations for the Pappus House location include the addition of a wheelchair ramp, bathroom redesigns and the widening of halls and doorways. Featuring a staff of licensed caregivers an community volunteers, the idea for the Pappus House stems from Nelson’s personal experience in the death of her mother.

“As a daughter, being the primary caregiver, I became the caregiver and not so much the daughter,” says Pappus. “To this day, I regret that because I wasn’t able to let go.”

Nelson and Siewert say 65% of York County deaths occur in hospitals and nursing homes. With the Pappus House, they seek to provide a social environment of support for their residents.

“The experience in a social model home, or community end-of-life home, there’s something about the whole community bearing witness to what is happening,” says Siewert.

The Pappus Housee is set to provide 24-hour care and medication management along with home-cooked meals. Nelson & Siewert say these kinds of individualized and companionship-oriented services extend beyong those being cared for and bring comfort to their families as well.

“You’ll see families supporting other families here and will maintain friendships after leaving the home,” says Siewert.

Nelson adds, “We want to allow the family to stay in the family role.”

Starting this Fall, the Pappus House will be able to host three individuals in need. Nelson & Siewert says they’re already planning an expansion for an eight bedroom home.

Following completion of the home’s remodel, the Pappus House is set to open sometime in September.

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