Project Category - New Construction (completed November 2000)

Facility Contact - Mary Anne Mercier, House Manager, (603) 595-5688

Firm - Lavallee/Brensinger Architects, (603) 622-5450

Design Team - Barry Brensinger, CEO; Ken Coombs, Project Architect; Keith Lacasse, Drawing Production; Kim Harkins, Interior Designer

Patient/Bed Capacity - 10 beds

Total Building Area (sq. ft.) - 12,244

Total Land Area (acres) - 4

Total Cost (excluding land) - $1,850,000

When death is certain but not imminent, most terminally ill people choose to live the remainder of their lives at home. They wish to live out this time in dignity, free from pain and surrounded by people they love. But what if the ill person is no longer in a home of his or her own? What if there is no one to provide care?

Home Health and Hospice Care (HHHC), an independent, nonprofit agency in Nashua, New Hampshire, decided to build and operate a freestanding Hospice House. This facility provides nursing care, social services, spiritual support and more, 24 hours a day.

The client challenged the design team to create a “home” that would feel comfortable and familiar to its residents, while addressing the following more specific design criteria::

  • respect for resident privacy

  • environments suitable for both socialization and respite

  • accommodating a variety of lifestyles

  • providing space for family and other surrogate caregivers

  • orienting sun exposure and window views to the natural landscape

The design team's response includes:

  • a building designed to be a “home,” with essential institutional amenities quietly integrated-not an “institution” decorated to look like a home.

  • thoughtful consideration of the values of resident community versus privacy, both indoors and outdoors.

  • rooms designed in a suite concept (bedroom, living room and toilet/shower), allowing rooming-in by family and other caregivers without crowding residents.

  • completely barrier-free facility, with communal spaces opened up to be most inviting.

  • kitchen designed with multiple cooking centers to involve residents and families, and to promote socialization.

  • staff spaces located and designed for operational efficiency and comfort.

The residents' responses to their new “home” have been overwhelmingly favorable.