by Gail Callahan
For people grappling with serious illness, the Tender Loving Care Respite House can’t come too quickly.
The proposed, 9,200-square-foot building slated for Ayers Street is already a caring work in progress, and has been in development for about two years. Last year, the project broke ground and carries a budget close to $775,000.
“If everyone in Vermont gave just $1, we could open up in six months,” said Tender Loving Homecare owner Roslyn Haldane, who paid around $40,000 for the parcel.
Haldane is passionate about the project. She talks lovingly about the plan, and it’s easy to see that this project along with Tender Loving Homecare is a vocation rather than just a job.
The structure, the former, long-time site of Central Vermont Community Action Council, has been “completely gutted,” according to Haldane. She also noted that all electrical work on outside walls has been installed and close to 50 windows have also gone in. The end-of-life room is also getting an overhaul.
Two apartments for families to stay for free are also part of the building scheme. Haldane is seeking sponsorship for rooms. When an individual supports a spot that allows the person providing funds to create it. “It’s your room,” Haldane said. “You get to decorate it.”
People from all walks of life will be welcome and are expected to swell resident ranks. Haldane is set to welcome men, women, children. The facility will also keep a watchful eye on those who served the nation with four rooms set aside for military veterans, she said.
Several local companies have donated money and materials to the project. Flooring was give and Barre Electric gave $20,000 worth of electric lighting for the good cause.
Haldane said the building’s first floor is slated for hospice and palliative, or specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. The second-floor area is slated for people going through treatment and who are in need of care. The third-floor area will be designated for short- and long-term respite care, Haldane said.
A nurse practitioner is set to staff the home and employee numbers will likely be based on the number of residents at the facility, Haldane said.
“We create our own employees,” Haldane said, adding Tender Loving Home Care holds LNA and personal care attendant classes, where students can receives licenses to work in health-care settings.
Haldane oversees the 24-hour, daily LLC. It’s a non-medical home care operation that offers an array of in-home as well as facility private-duty care for the elderly, those who are ill or people who are homebound. Staff includes register nurses, licensed nursing assistants, and personal-care attendant. On the company’s web site, tenderlovinghomecarellc.com, Haldane notes nursing personnel are “fully screened, bonded and insured.”
Haldane is embracing the project since he’s on the forefront of home health care. She said integrity, reliability and respect are the guiding principles that govern her company, and she plans on installing those same guidelines into the respite home.
“We’re building a home-like atmosphere,” Haldane said.
Perhaps one of the best-known respite homes in Vermont is the McClure Miller VNA Respite House in Colchester, moving from its Williston location about two years ago. The Chittenden County facility’s care and services are covered as part of insurance’s hospice benefit, and according to the website, a patient isn’t denied care because of financial ability.
The Tender Loving Care Respite House is vowing to embrace that philosophy too. “We won’t turn anyone away who can’t pay,” said Haldane.
Sandy Rousse, president and chief executive officer of Central Vermont Home Health & Hospice, welcomes the addition of the new respite house. She is a firm supporter of keeping people in the communities where they have lived. “This is creating an opportunity for us to work with another provider,” Rousse said.
Central Vermont Council on Aging Director of Development and Communications Mary Hayden is extending a welcoming hand to the proposal.
“We’re always supportive of any project that provides quality respite care,” she said.