Enhancing the quality of life through compassionate care for people affected by advanced illness and grief.
Our Key Values:
- People are entitled to a safe, comfortable death
- People are entitled to make their own decisions about care at the end of life
- Grieving is normal, and people in grief deserve support to enable them to have an effective grieving process
Hospice of St. Lawrence Valley was founded in 1983 as an all- volunteer organization serving one patient at a time. Over the years, Hospice expanded its services and has become the primary resource in the community for grief information and education, services, and support.
True to our founding mission, hospice care is now provided to over 400 patients and their families each year with a fully-trained, paid professional staff. In addition, 50 volunteers provide patient care and staff support. Core hospice services include regular visits from an RN case manager, social worker, home health aides and chaplain with the goal of providing comfort, dignity and support through the end of life process.
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 growth of the Palliative Care program occurred 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 re-admissions. 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 and hospitals. In 2018 the palliative care program adopted a new name, AIM (Advanced Illness Management), and hired an additional nurse practitioner. By 2021 AIM had three Nurse practitioners providing over 1,200 home-based visits per year.
While providing bereavement counseling for families of hospice patients is a mandated service, Hospice of St. Lawrence Valley recognized there were many community residents experiencing loss who did not have access to that kind of specialized grief education and support . With grant funding and community support, Hospice introduced a community bereavement program in 1996 to expand services to anyone who needed grief education and support. Services offered at that time included monthly support groups, individual counseling and workshops. Hospice then 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 all eighteen school districts in the county. 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.