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40 years

The John & Orpha Blair Hospice House

Photo submitted to Times Observer John and Orpha Blair Hospice Residence.

Over five Saturdays, the Times Observer is presenting Hospice of Warren County from its own perspective in honor of its 40th anniversary.

The Hospice House in Warren has proven to be a loving gift to the people of Warren County. One of very few in Pennsylvania, the house has become the envy of many counties across the commonwealth.

When Orpha Blair created the legacy that assisted us in purchasing the house, she could not have known of the hundreds of patients and families whose burdens would be eased by the comforts of this lovely residence.

The contemporary Asian-style house was purchased in 2009.  With an architect, we spent most of the next year reconfiguring the house from a family residence to the needs of our patients.

The three private patient bedrooms are large, each with a spacious ensuite bathroom, complete with roll-in shower.  Floor-length windows offer gardens views, visited often by delightful birds, deer, rabbits and squirrels from the surrounding woodland setting.

The views of the seasonal outdoor beauty are continued by glass walls and doors gracing the living room, dining room and large family room/kitchen. 

We planned calming colors throughout the house to create a warm atmosphere that is comfortable and home-like.  Some furniture was acquired new, some had been left with the house and we purchased other lovely pieces from a few local estate sales. We chose art representing Warren County artists and donors to grace the walls. Patients often hear melodies from the magnificent grand piano in the living room.

The house, however nice its woodland vistas and furnishings, is only the gracious background for Warren’s very special Hospice experience. From home-cooking of the patient’s favorite foods to in-room massages, every service, every kind gesture, is planned to create comfort – both physical and emotional comfort. As a new patient settles in, he finds that personalized attention from very caring professionals creates the ultimate in serenity and dignity.

Families, often with pets, bring entire Sunday or holiday meals to celebrate in the dining room. A common sound with visiting loved ones is often laughter as exhausted family members, their care burdens finally eased, are free to love and enjoy one another.

The most common reaction that Hospice volunteers receive is, “If we had only known about this sooner,” or, “We had no idea there was a lovely, peaceful facility like this.”  Until families face the difficult challenges that life-limiting illness brings, the idea of Hospice is often a later decision.

We want all Warren County residents to know that The Blair Hospice House, a beautiful alternative, is readily available to help all patients and families make their transition easier, their peace of mind a treasured part of their memory.

Marcy O’Brien, Hospice Volunteer, Hospice Advisory Committee, Hospice House Interior Design

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