The Crystal Coast is a vast, rural area located along the southern most Outer Banks. The community of Carteret, Craven, Onslow, Pamlico and Jones Counties covers over 4,000 square miles with almost a third of that, over 1,250 square miles, being inland or coastal waters. The area is geographically isolated, bounded on the north by the Pamlico Sound and the south and east by the Atlantic Ocean. Many residents live in areas separated from the mainland by water or wetlands. The closest major interstate and international commercial airport are over 30 miles away. With few easily accessible thoroughfares and long stretches of coast it is difficult for residents to travel easily to areas outside of the community.
Our goal was to locate a site in Carteret County that was central to all of the area's residents, including Onslow, Craven, Jones, and Pamlico Counties.
Thanks to the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament and the generosity of the property sellers, the SECU Crystal Coast Hospice House will be located on a beautiful tract of land in Newport, North Carolina, on which to build the new hospice home. Centrally located just off Highway 70, a few miles from Morehead City's main retail hub, the site is easily accessible to patients and family members in our five county area, from Jacksonville and Swansboro, Havelock and New Bern, Beaufort, Harkers Island, and even the New River Ferry terminal serving Pamlico County.
The counties to be served are rural counties with three also classified as economically distressed. The closest inpatient hospice facilities, in Kenansville and Greenville, often operate at capacity and require more than 1 1/2 hours commute from Morehead City and 2 1/2 hours commute from more remote areas like Cedar Island. Hospice encourages participation by family and friends in the loving care of a terminally ill patient but these geographic factors can present burdensome, stressful and often cost-prohibitive barriers to fulfilling the hospice premise of celebrating life's every moment.