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Hospice Buffalo unveils renovations at Mitchell Campus

There’s a lot new at the main clinical building of Hospice Buffalo’s Mitchell Campus in Cheektowaga.

Including a name.

Wednesday morning, the 20-year-old building was named the William M. & Phyllis Bender Care Center as officials unveiled the results of a $10 million renovation project.

“We had never named the building before,” said Patrick T. Flynn, president of the Hospice Foundation of Western New York.

“We thought it was fitting to name the main clinical building after the Benders.”

A $2.7 million bequest by the late William Bender, a Buffalo pharmacist whose wife, Phyllis, was cared for at Hospice Buffalo, helped fund the work.

Renovations included a makeover of all 22 inpatient rooms of the Mary & Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Hospice Inpatient Unit.

New bay windows increase the amount of natural light. “Every patient room looks out into a garden area,” Flynn noted.

New customized, built-in cabinetry holds medical equipment and “smart” televisions allow video communication between patients and out-of-town relatives.

There’s an expanded nurses’ station and a new private patient entrance, commercial kitchen, roof and siding, and a heating/cooling system that offers climate controls in each patient room.

It was the first renovation since Hospice Buffalo moved into the Como Park Boulevard building in 1995.

“These are the original rooms,” said Flynn. “This was an opportunity for us to do a total upgrade of the facility plant.”

Approximately 1,000 patients a year are cared for at the Cheektowaga location and the St. John Baptist facility in Buffalo, which was converted in 2012 from a residential/long-term facility to an eight-bed acute care unit.

The approximately $500,000 conversion at St. John Baptist, which included adding a separate commercial kitchen, was the first of the two-phase project.

Work on the main clinical building in Cheektowaga began in January.

Meanwhile, Hospice Buffalo is continuing to replace its electronic medical records system.

“This investment really is something that will carry us forward for the next 20 years in serving the community,” Flynn said.