Mayor and council told local hospice is at full capacity
CHESTERTOWN — Since it opened its doors in March, the hospice center here has served more than 30 patients, Heather Guerieri told the Chestertown Mayor and Council at Monday night’s meeting.
Guerieri is executive director of Compass Regional Hospice, which leases space at the University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Chestertown. The four-bed unit is located on the third floor, in what had once been the pediatrics suite at the hospital.
The census is fluid, Guerieri said. There was only one patient on Monday, but most days all four beds are filled, she said.
“There was definitely a need,” she said. “We wanted Kent County residents to stay in Kent County.”
The annual operating budget for the Chestertown facility is about $500,000, which includes the cost to lease the space and staffing. Guerieri said Compass Regional Hospice must raise about $350,000 annually to cover the program funding gaps.
In addition to the residential center, Compass provides hospice services in homes and the assisted living facilities in Kent County, Guerieri said.
In answering a question from the council, Guerieri said the four hospice beds are not tabulated in Shore Regional Health’s count of inpatient beds at Chestertown.
Monday’s agenda was light, with updates on the marina project and the upcoming Tea Party Festival generating most of the discussion.
By a 5-0 vote, the council awarded a $1.1 million contract to David A. Bramble Co. to raise the grade by 2 feet of the parking lot that is shared with the Fish Whistle Restaurant. Three bids were submitted; the Bramble bid was the lowest, Town Manager Bill Ingersoll said.
Also by unanimous vote, the council approve all permits related to the three-day Tea Party Festival (May 25-27). This includes the possible closure of Water Street, from High Street to Wilmer Park, to accommodate a team of eight Budweiser Clydesdales during the parade May 26.
As part of his report, Ingersoll announced that the town had received a $138,000 Community Parks and Playgrounds grant from the Department of Natural Resources for the Louisa d’Andelot Carpenter Park in Washington Park.
“I’m real excited. I grew up in that neighborhood. That’s home for me,” said Third Ward Councilman Ellsworth Tolliver, whose ward includes Washington Park.
Mayor Chris Cerino said the money would help “make it a first-rate space.”
The grant is earmarked for phase two of the park upgrade, to include a resurfaced basketball court, a walking trail and a pavilion.
Cerino nominated Jeffrey Coomer to fill a vacancy on the Historic District Commission and James Bogden for a seat on the Recreation Commission. The council will vote on the nominees at its May 21 meeting.