abraham house 1
abraham house 1

Abraham House is extending its services to the Rome community with plans to open a six-bedroom facility in the former Rome Home on North Washington Street in spring 2019.

The only facility of its kind in Oneida, Herkimer and Madison counties, Abraham House has provided care for the terminally ill free of charge since 1998. Since the Utica home offers just two guest rooms, Executive Director Gina Ciaccia knew it was time for the organization to grow and serve more people. She was confident that the organization could duplicate its model to expand services to another nearby community in need.

This idea became real when Ciaccia spoke about the proposed project at a Rome Chamber of Commerce event. Working with City of Rome Mayor Jacqueline Izzo, Ciaccia was invited to view the Rome Home. She soon learned that the Rome Home was closing, with the organization’s board of directors planning to donate it to a worthy recipient.

“This was a generous, significant gift, but also a huge undertaking for myself and my leadership team to make this happen,” Ciaccia said. “It happened so organically, but we approached it very seriously to make it a reality.”

Abraham House Rome will provide six more beds for the three counties, doubling the number of rooms available to provide 24-hour care to the terminally ill. Abraham House Rome is building a relationship with Rome Memorial Hospital for referrals through their continuum of care, and Ciaccia is anticipating referrals will also come from Hospice & Palliative Care.

Veteran Abraham House caregivers in Utica will play a leadership role in Rome, especially in training new staff and keeping all instruction consistent. Caregivers will be cross-trained so they can work at either facility. Right now, Abraham House Utica has about 12 part-time caregivers on staff, and Rome will double that.

In addition to more Abraham House staff, Hospice & Palliative Care will occupy space in the Rome facility as well, allowing for easier access since the only area hospice location is in New Hartford. This shared space arrangement will allow Hospice & Palliative Care to serve residents of Rome and surrounding communities.

The Rome location is in the final stages of being cleaned out, and many items have been donated or made available at The Bird’s Nest, the Abraham House thrift store. Companies such as BME have also helped, with volunteers moving items out of the home to get ready for renovations.

Moving forward, Abraham House is building a $200,000 fund that will be used to match private gifts dollar for dollar. Abraham House has already secured $50,000 from The Community Foundation in addition to $25,000 from the Mele Family Fund and $10,000 from the Francis J. & Ruth A. Pugliese Family Fund at The Community Foundation.

Abraham House Rome was also a finalist in The Community Foundation’s Community Choice Awards, competing for funding for guest services and amenities for the Rome home’s guests and their families.

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