Alex Powell, left, and Chaney Coman, right, of The Roundhouse Foundation grant program, add their comments to the visitors wall at Central Oregon’s new Hospice House prior to installation of the walnut paneling. photo provided
Alex Powell, left, and Chaney Coman, right, of The Roundhouse Foundation grant program, add their comments to the visitors wall at Central Oregon’s new Hospice House prior to installation of the walnut paneling. photo provided

In just a few months’ time, the generous residents of Sisters Country not only met but exceeded the $100,000 challenge in support of the new Hospice House at Partners In Care in Bend. As of last week, $116,035 had been donated, fully funding the Three Sisters suite, with the remainder going toward the Black Butte suite.

Partners In Care and the Sisters Challenge Team extended a very grateful thank-you to those Sisters Country residents who opened their hearts and their wallets to help provide hospice care in a state-of-the-art specialty hospital, the only one east of the Cascades. Members of the team include Chairman Bill Willitts, Fran Willis, Rob Corrigan, Kevin Miller, Donna Lipscomb, John Griffith, and Sue Stafford.

On Friday, June 18, three members of The Roundhouse Foundation staff were given a tour of the new facility by Director of Development and Communications Marlene Carlson, accompanied by Eric Alexander, executive director of Partners In Care, and Kristie Hammond, RN, who will be involved with the new Hospice House. The Roundhouse Foundation Executive Director and Trustee Erin Borla was accompanied by foundation staff members Chaney Coman, grants manager and office coordinator; and Alex Powell, grants program officer (see related story).

The new Hospice House and its grounds were designed by DKA Architecture, ALSC Architects, and J. Battleson Design. SunWest Builders are constructing the facility. The designers created a space that embraces the elements of earth, air, fire, and water: Earth, through the connection of the surrounding natural landscape; air, represented by the openness of rooms to the outside and views to the sky; fire, in the warmth of the fireplace and the pinpoints of light on the vigil wall of the chapel; and water, represented in the view of the water feature outside the chapel. These elements help generate feelings of familiarity, serenity, and peacefulness.

Entering the front door, one steps into the Great Room with its double-sided fireplace, which also opens into the dining room, where there is a farm-style dining table and chairs. Beyond the dining room is a large commercial kitchen with a pass-through where, at all times, there will be a Crock-Pot of soup, coffee, tea, and freshly baked cookies available. Outside the Great Room is a deck and a play area for children visiting family members. Patient pets are welcome to visit and there is a pet park to accommodate them.

Beautiful spaces intuitively flow from one to another, strung along a curved, walnut-paneled “journey wall” leading from patient rooms to the chapel. Everywhere throughout the 14,600-square-foot building are large double-pane windows that open and allow for the play of natural light throughout the day and as the seasons change.

According to Alexander, “The building was designed to be beautiful, close to nature, and to encourage reflection. The whole idea was to build a building in a garden to bring nature as close as possible.”

The campaign brochure states: “The new Hospice House was designed with one mandate: to reinforce and preserve the dignity of the people using hospice care as they complete their lives.”

The chapel is designed to welcome people of all beliefs. A wall with points of light helps the visitor recall the beautiful moments in the life of a loved one. A crystal singing bowl produces a B-flat note when struck with a mallet – a tone that is said to penetrate deeply into the soul and release through the heart and the crown.

An activity room will be available for watching TV somewhere other than in the patient’s suite, playing games, reading, and visiting. There are also sitting areas located throughout the building, many oriented to the gardens.

Hospice House staff will also be well cared for with a staff break room, not included in the original six-bed Hospice House, which will be converted totally to administrative offices and staff/team areas. There will also be separate offices in the new building for the Medical Director and Hospice House Director, as well as a consultation room for meeting with families, and a large medication room.

The 12 patient suites, each with its own bathroom and roll-in shower, are designed to meet needs of patients and their families. The Three Sisters suite (room 11), financed by the Sisters Challenge, looks out on the “gratitude garden,” which will contain the wall with bronze leaves denoting donors’ names as well as flowers, trees, and shrubs. The room receives lovely evening light viewed through its large window.

The Black Butte suite is a negative-air-pressure room, which keeps infection isolated from the rest of the facility.

Alexander estimates the building will be completed in September 2021, and occupied in October or November.

Donations for the Sisters Challenge are still being accepted. Checks or pledges may be sent to Partners In Care, 2075 NE Wyatt Ct., Bend, OR, 97701, indicating the Sisters Challenge. Donations may also be made online at, indicating the Sisters Challenge. The CARES Act and SECURE Act offer incentives for charitable giving. For more information, contact Marlene Carlson at 541-382-5882.