Pavilion Adds Hospice Room

By George Nianiatus, senior writer
Communications Department

Diane Merry Mitchell of Bradford has turned her bereavement on the loss of a sister into a community-minded gift by creating the Mitchell/Tertinek/Phillips Hospice Room at The Pavilion at BRMC.

This specially designed hospice room was made possible through a unique donor effort led by Mrs. Mitchell.

Developing the fourth-floor hospice room became a clear goal of Mrs. Mitchell after caring for her sister, Brenda Merry Tertinek of Columbus Ind., for several months before she was transferred to a facility’s family-friendly hospice. Her sister died nearly two years ago.

After returning home, Mrs. Mitchell says she realized, “There should be a hospice room dedicated for that type of care in Bradford.”

She contacted Francie Ambuske, director of the Bradford Hospital Foundation, about raising funds to make the hospice room a reality.

“We agreed that we can give hospice a home with a specially designed and equipped room at The Pavilion,” Mrs. Ambuske says.

The donor effort raised nearly $35,000 from friends and supporters of Mrs. Mitchell’s project.

Ultimately, the hospice room was named in honor of the two sisters and a friend of Mrs. Mitchell’s, Betty Phillips of Bradford who was involved early on with the donor effort but passed away a few months ago.

The donor effort, including the Reed-Coit match, will be recognized at a $70,000 Naming Opportunity, says Mrs. Ambuske. This match was made possible through the estates of two sisters, Dorothy Reed and Berdena Coit, where their combined gift of $1.5 million will match a donor’s gift to the Foundation’s “Building The Future” Capital Campaign.

“Over 64 people came together to support this hospice room project,” says Mrs. Ambuske, noting, “I just want to thank all these wonderful donors for the most unique gift possible.”

Of the hospice room donors, eight of Betty Phillips’ high school friends, known as the D.D.’s, made contributions.

To highlight the completion of the hospice room, a reception at The Pavilion at BRMC was held Wednesday so donors, Pavilion staff and the hospice team could tour it. A public open house is planned in the near future.

The Pavilion at BRMC now has a hospice room to give needed privacy and home-like comfort to those spending their last days with supportive family and friends.

“This hospice room is a very peaceful, private place in a professional setting to accommodate individuals who can no longer be taken care of at home or elsewhere during their final days,” says Bonnie Himes, The Pavilion’s administrator.

“Our hospice room is large enough to comfortably accommodate family members or friends,” Mrs. Himes notes.

“We made sure there’s an extra-wide bed because sometimes people want to be comforted by having someone lay down with them,” Mrs. Himes explains.

The room’s other key features include variable lighting, a plasma television with Direct TV, a sound system, DVD player, refrigerator, coffee maker, a chair and full-length couch, end tables, carpeting and wood-look flooring, plus a new call bell system to contact Pavilion staff if necessary. The room is decorated in soft tones of green, beige and floral.

Additionally, the remodeled bathroom is fully tiled with slip-resistant flooring.

“A lot of research was done before putting this room together,” Mrs. Himes says.

“It’s been my dream for a long time for this facility to have a hospice room,” Mrs. Himes says.

“There are times when a family has delivered 24-hour care or palliative care and now it’s time for them to rest, have some coffee and just be with each other in the final days. This new hospice room makes all of this possible,” Mrs. Ambuske says. “This is why people so willingly gave to this unique donor effort.”

The bulk of construction work was done by Bradford Regional Medical Center’s (BRMC’s) Plant Services staff, Mrs. Himes says.

Assisting Mrs. Himes in selecting color schemes, furniture and furnishings for the hospice room were Bonnie Frisina, Revenue Management analyst, Penny Oyler, Cardiopulmonary Services director, and Jeff Gabel, Plant Services director.

Discussion on raising funds for a second hospice room are currently under way, says Mrs. Ambuske.

Although the hospice room has been completed, donations are still being sought for future naming purposes, adds Mrs. Ambuske.

The local hospice program was developed by BRMC’s then-named McKean County VNA in 1983. It was Pennsylvania’s second certified hospice program, say BRMC officials.

The Pavilion is a 95-bed facility which provides long-term care to residents and also short-term restorative care to post-surgical patients. For more information, call The Pavilion at 362-8293 or go online at

The Foundation, founded in 1989, raises significant funds to support BRMC. For more information or to make a donation to any appeal, contact the Foundation at 20 School St. or call 362-3200.

Shown in the fourth-floor Mitchell/Tertinek/Phillips Hospice Room at The Pavilion at BRMC are (from left): Diane Merry Mitchell, the motivating force behind the donor effort to create the room; Francie Ambuske, Bradford Hospital Foundation’s director; Jill Cummiskey, the Foundation’s donor relations coordinator; and Larry Phillips, whose wife Betty was initially involved with the effort and was among three people honored with the room naming.
(Photo courtesy of BRMC)


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