Hospice of St. Lawrence Valley’s Community Bereavement Services is offering a new 6-week grief support group starting in September.
Hospice of St. Lawrence Valley
Ensuring quality of life in any stage of illness
6805 US Hwy 11 | PO Box 510 Potsdam, NY 13676
COMMUNITY BANK ANNUAL CHARITY GOLF TOURNAMENT TO BENEFIT HOSPICE TO BE HELD JUNE 18th
Community Bank, N.A. is celebrating a major milestone as their annual golf tournament approaches on Friday, June 18th. This will mark the 50th year of charitable giving through this event. Since 1995, Hospice of St. Lawrence Valley has been the beneficiary of the tournament proceeds and that tradition will continue this year.
Longtime tournament Chair, David Peggs continues in his role, even after retiring as the Canton Branch Manager. The dedicated tournament committee also includes Randy Pray, Brenda Rand, Gina Boyd, Dori Warren, and Sherry Stone. Activities the day of the tournament are carried out by a team of volunteers from various Community Bank branches around St. Lawrence County.
“The committee couldn’t be prouder of this achievement. This golf tournament is just one example of the many ways Community Bank gives back, supporting programs and services that are important to all who live here,” Mr. Peggs remarked. “We are truly appreciative for the sustained commitment that our players and corporate sponsors make each year in helping us raise much needed funding for the invaluable services Hospice provides. Their generous support allows Hospice to continue to provide special care for seriously ill patients and their families.”
“Hospice would like to congratulate the many individuals who have made this tournament a success over the last 50 years. We are honored to have been selected as the beneficiary for more than half of those years,” said Kellie Hitchman, Director of Development and Community Relations for Hospice. “The committee and volunteers do a fantastic job each year organizing the tournament. We are grateful for the Bank’s dedicated support, as well as the generous support of the golfers and sponsors.”
As the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continued to be felt in June of 2020, the committee made the difficult decision not to host the annual tournament. Knowing the cancellation of the event would mean a deficit in support raised for Hospice, many sponsors continued with their traditional donation. In addition, Community Bank provided a significant gift to Hospice in lieu of hosting the tournament.
“The support, not only from our sponsors, but also Community Bank in a time that was challenging for so many is a prime example of the relationships created by this tournament. We are thrilled to be returning to the course this year. We have missed the volunteers, golfers and sponsors we have grown accustomed to seeing each year. A heart-felt thank you to all of them is long overdue,” said Ms. Hitchman.
The day features a 11 a.m. shotgun start with dinner and awards immediately following play. The $85 per person or $340 team entry fee includes prizes, greens fees, cart and dinner. Flights for the captain and crew format will be determined by the combined team handicap, and there will be prizes for the longest drive and closest to the pin, along with a hole-in-one giveaway sponsored by TJ Toyota.
For more information on playing in the tournament or sponsorship opportunities, contact Kellie Hitchman at Hospice at 315-265-3105. All tournament proceeds will support the work of Hospice in our community.
Hospice of St. Lawrence Valley invites you to share the memories of those you treasure by joining with others in our annual Memory Tree campaign.
Thank you for celebrating a star in your life through Hospice of St. Lawrence Valley’s Annual Memory Tree Campaign.
Funds raised through this campaign will help Hospice continue to provide quality end-of-life care and grief support to our friends and neighbors throughout St. Lawrence County.2020 Hospice Memory Book for website
The Role of the Hospice Social Worker
When we speak about hospice care, often the first thing that comes to mind is the importance of the medical care of the patient. Controlling pain and symptoms, managing medications, and addressing other immediate concerns related to their illness. A major benefit to the families who accept hospice care is the coordination of all these things so they can focus on being present with their loved one for whatever period of time they may have.
But how exactly does a patient and their family begin to process the words terminal illness, death, and the countless thoughts and emotions that come along with them?
Fortunately, hospice care uses a person and family-centered approach that includes a team of clinicians including doctors, nurses, home health aides, chaplains, counselors, trained volunteers, and social workers.
In hospice care, social workers are tasked with addressing the many emotional and psychological issues patients and families face when they travel this phase of their journey. They work to assess and evaluate the situations patients find themselves in from a problem-solving perspective. Their insights, support, and recommendations can greatly improve the experience of the patient and their family.
The social worker gets to know the patient and the background of their personal and family history, including identifying any military service. This information, as well as learning their view of the dying process, is important to collect so the social worker can help the patient and family work together in making healthcare decisions based on their goals of care.
Sometimes, a social worker will find a family under unusual stress, or with particular or unusual concerns about what they are facing as a family. In this case, the social worker may help mediate family discussions to help get everyone on the same page.
During this time, all family members may not agree with the patient’s decisions to accept hospice care. Social workers are specially trained to resolve conflict and help with the acceptance of the patient’s wishes. For many families, these can be very emotionally charged situations and social workers assist in keeping the focus on what is important to the patient.
One of the scariest things present during this time can be fear of the unknown. The clinical team works to prepare patients and families with knowledge of what they might expect during the process. Most importantly, social workers help people to accept their emotions about the situation.
At Hospice of St. Lawrence Valley, social workers have the assistance of Resource Advocate, Brandy Walton, who works to connect families to community care agencies, respite services, Lifeline, legal services, housing, home delivered meals, prescription coverage, utility assistance and much more. Together, the social work team provides important guidance through the process of establishing managed long-term care in the home and facilitate nursing home placements if needed.
Navigating life with an advanced illness can involve countless confusing insurance matters and completing applications for nursing home placement, Medicare, and VA services can be exhausting. Hospice staff have established relationships with the many services available to our community members and work to ensure they have the fullest support available as they care for their loved one.
For many patients and families who choose hospice care, coordination of care removes a huge burden. The ripple effect of an illness and the death of a loved one moves through the entire family and it is important with this model of care that support is offered to everyone affected by the situation. Each person experiences this process differently and they are treated as individuals when difficult emotions arise.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we would like to remind families they can seek additional information on hospice care and even refer a family member to our services. Our staff will work with a person’s physician to determine if they are eligible for hospice care or our Advanced Illness Management program. For more information call 315-265-3105.
While the presence of COVID-19 in our lives has certainly brought on many changes to our routines, not all changes are bad.
Early this summer we announced, for the first time in ten years, we would be making a change to our signature summer event. Hosting Swim a Mile for Hospice during a pandemic was not possible. Instead, we introduced My Mile for Hospice. We asked you to choose an activity and “go the extra mile” in support of our organization and those we serve. The final result of this event far exceeded anything we could have hoped for.
A total of eighty-four participants ages six to seventy and older logged nearly 2,500 miles. Hundreds of community members made donations in support of our participants’ efforts to walk, run, bike, hike, and swim (just to name a few activities) for Hospice. This change of events allowed us to welcome sixty-five new participants as Hospice supporters. While we couldn’t formally gather together, collectively this effort raised nearly $42,000, making it our most successful special event ever.
More significantly, our community rallied around the importance of hospice care in the time of a health crisis. You recognized our front-line staff and their willingness to continue to serve your friends and family during one of life’s most difficult times.
Prizes were awarded to the top three individual fundraisers, top youth fundraiser, and new this year, top fundraising team. With a total of $4,990 Shauna Gall was once again our top fundraiser, followed by long-time participant Jan DeWaters who raised $2,192, and Hospice volunteer Kay Church raising a total of $2,001. Kay also logged the most individual miles with her daily combination of stationary biking and walking for a total of one thousand three hundred miles. The top three individual fundraisers were awarded gift certificates to the Potsdam Chamber of Commerce to ensure support of our local businesses.
Ariana Baxter was the top youth fundraiser. She performed an original dance choreographed with her teammate, Emersen Garrow. A full team of new participants, the Cranberry Lake Crazies, was the top fundraising team with a combined total of $2,290. They completed the Cranberry Lake 50 Ultra – a fifty-two mile hike around Cranberry Lake in less than twenty-four hours in honor of a fellow hiker and current hospice patient.
As we all know, change is difficult. A departure from normal or what we’ve always done can be scary, but sometimes it can lead to incredible opportunities for improvement. Throughout the last few months, it has been a pleasure to interact with participants new and old and connect with community members who so generously donated to our cause. We learned why Hospice is important to you and we saw a new level of support for our organization. These are the things that have made the change to My Mile for Hospice incredibly profound.
The support from My Mile for Hospice will ensure the compassionate care our patients and their families count on will continue to be available no matter what challenges lie ahead.
From everyone at Hospice, thank you for going the extra mile!
– Kellie Hitchman, Director of Development & Community Relations