I would like to address our community about Hospice of Grant County and how we began. I am one of the two registered nurses hired in June l998 to help start hospice in Grant County.

At that time, we were one of two counties in the state that did not have hospice services available.-In 1997, Hospice of Redmond & Sisters began exploring the possibilities of- providing hospice services to our community.-The desire to extend comprehensive hospice care in our community arose after several requests by families and physicians in the Bend and Redmond area, who had relatives or patients residing here.

Our executive director at that time had discussions with Blue Mountain Hospital to help fill this need.-Blue Mountain Hospital declined this invitation.-In l998, Hospice of Redmond & Sisters contacted Marvin Casebeer, who was involved with the Senior Centers in Grant County and asked him to help arrange meetings with the public to determine how to get hospice services started.

In June 1998, Kellie Reid and I were hired by Hospice of Redmond & Sisters to run Hospice of Grant County.-We had our first patient in July l998.-It was thought that we would have a census of one to three patients at any given time. We soon learned our census would exceed this.

By August l998, with the help of Marvin Casebeer and Kellie Reid, who were also Prairie City Council members, we acquired the building we work out of today.-We pay the City of Prairie City $1 per year to lease the building we occupy on Front Street.

Today, we have grown to five part-time RN positions, one patient care aide, one social worker, one pastoral care coordinator, one administrative assistant, one medical director-and 19 volunteers.-

During the almost seven years we've been in business, we have cared for more than 130 patients and families here in Grant County and have also cared for patients in Wheeler County.

It has been my pleasure and privilege to work with this wonderful group of people serving terminally ill patients and their families. I look forward to many more years of providing service to our community as a member of the Hospice of Grant County team.

Muffett F. Ricco, R.N.

Prairie City

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