Hospice of Southern Maine has purchased eight acres on Route 1 in Scarborough, where the agency plans to build a new headquarters to accommodate a growing need for its services in Cumberland and York counties.

The nonprofit agency bought the land at 390 Route 1 in August from Hannaford Bros., according to CBRE/The Boulos Co. An anonymous gift covered the $850,000 cost, said Elaine Brady, interim chief executive officer of the hospice agency.

The agency will soon launch a capital campaign to raise about $5.5 million to build its planned “hospice center,” which would replace and expand upon existing office space leased at 180 and 136 Route 1, Brady said.

“We’re getting very short on space at our Route 1 facilities,” Brady said Friday. “The hospice center will allow us to consolidate our programs at one location.”

Hospice of Southern Maine provides end-of-life personal and medical home care, mental health, spiritual and bereavement counseling, and community education services. Funded largely by Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance, the agency also operates the only inpatient hospice facility in southern Maine, the Gosnell Memorial Hospice House, which opened in 2007 at 11 Hunnewell Road in Scarborough.

It’s one of about 20 Medicare-certified agencies that provide hospice care in private homes, assisted-living facilities, nursing homes, hospitals and other locations in Maine. Volunteer hospice services also are available in Knox, Waldo, Lincoln, Hancock, Washington, Somerset, Kennebec and Penobscot counties, according to the Maine Hospice Council & Center for End-of-Life Care.

Founded in 2004, Hospice of Southern Maine started with about 30 patients and now serves about 140 patients daily, or more than 1,400 yearly, according to Brady and annual reports. Its numbers have grown steadily, with staffing increasing from 111 employees in 2011 to more than 160 employees today.

The growth mirrors increasing public awareness of the benefits of hospice care and Maine’s expanding population over age 65.

Maine is the oldest state based on median age (43.5 years) and the second-oldest based on the proportion of people 65 and older (17 percent), according to the U.S. Census. Florida is No. 1 with 18.2 percent.

Maine also has the highest proportion of baby boomers – 29 percent of its 1.3 million residents were born between 1946 and 1964. By 2030, more than 25 percent of Mainers will be 65 or older.

The planned hospice center is one of several steps the agency is taking to better meet a growing need. The center will have dedicated space for visiting hospice services, one-on-one and group counseling sessions and community-oriented programs such as end-of-life education and advanced care planning.

In addition, the Gosnell House is in the midst of a $250,000 renovation that includes reconfiguring administrative offices to accommodate additional staff members. The 18-bed facility has been limited to a maximum of 14 patients because it didn’t have enough office space to accommodate additional necessary staffing.

Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

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