Founded in 1983 as an all- volunteer organization serving one patient, Hospice now employs 70 full and part- time staff members. In addition, 110 volunteers provide patient care and staff support.
The organization began offering palliative care services in 2002 to address the needs of seriously ill patients who could benefit from the special kind of care provided, but did not yet meet eligibility requirements for hospice care. Significant strides within the Palliative Care program were made in 2010 when three area hospitals partnered with Hospice in the Home Support Program. Through this transition program, patients with a chronic illness were provided case management by a registered nurse and social worker with the goal of reducing 30 day hospital readmissions. With the addition of a nurse practitioner to the staff in early 2014, the palliative care program once again expanded to include patient consultations in homes, hospitals and at the Palliative Care Center. The palliative care program grew exponentially in 2015, nearly tripling the number of patient visits completed in 2014.
While providing bereavement counseling for families of hospice patients is a mandated service, HPCSLV recognized there were many community residents experiencing grief who did not have access to the important services needed to grieve in a healthy manor. With grant funding and significant community support, Hospice introduced a community bereavement program in 1996 to expand services to anyone who needed counseling and support. Services offered include monthly support groups, individual counseling and workshops. Hospice began responding to deaths involving schools in 1998. Over the course of several years, using their experiences, Hospice staff developed “When Grief Comes to School” a training manual to provide information to school counselors and personnel on how to quickly and effectively meet the needs of students and the school community in the wake of a tragic loss. Hospice staff provide annual training workshops for area schools and have distributed grief toolboxes in all eighteen school districts in St. Lawrence County. Since beginning to respond as part of the crisis management team, Hospice has provided bereavement services in seventeen of eighteen school districts in the community. In addition, Hospice has acted as a consultant to area universities, government agencies, work places and other members of the community as they experience a loss.
As the sole provider of hospice services in St. Lawrence County and expanding beyond the traditional scope of services provided by average Hospices’, the organization has built a noteworthy reputation as the place to turn for all things death, dying and bereavement.