By Charlie Inglefield
The new Hospiz Zentralschweiz is due to open on 6 January 2020 in Luzern’s Littau suburbs. The story behind the creation of this hospice is a remarkable one, given that it is an entirely privately funded project and based on a dream of two people who had never previously met before January 2014. Introduced by the director of Palliativ Zug, Birgit Hermes at a networking event, Hans Peter Stutz and Sibylle Jean-Petit-Matile just clicked.
“It was a perfect match and after a couple of minutes we knew we could trust each other”, said Sibylle.
In that first meeting a vision was born to build a hospice, which could serve central Switzerland’s cantons. As Hans Peter mentioned, palliative care in Switzerland is limited, particularly so for families who struggle to afford this type of care.
“There is little palliative help in Switzerland despite the many hospitals we have in the country.“
Finding the perfect location
Sibylle, a physician and Hans Peter, a successful businessman immediately set about creating their perfect hospice site. As Hans Peter put it, “Our vision was to have a house, not a typical hospital that can be depressing for a visitor”.
Starting with no money and just a dream, Sibylle and Hans Peter looked at many properties across Zug and Lucerne before finally falling for a former doctor’s house in Littau, Luzern.
‘The house found us” says Sibylle.
Disused for the last 20 years and in desperate need of a complete overhaul, the property was perfect for Sibylle and Hans Peter’ idea of having a ‘home away from home’.
“We wanted to create a home and to give visitors a positive experience. None of those big white doors that can be intimidating, or doctors with white gowns.”