The first initiative to bring hospice care to the Chautauqua County area began in 1978 when several concerned community members gathered to discuss the care of local patients who were dying and the needs of their families. A planning board was formed to study hospice efforts in other areas, including data from a variety of projects funded by Medicare, the state of New York and Blue Cross. This study led the board members to believe the efforts were beneficial and worthwhile for the emotional well-being of patients and families of Chautauqua County.
On April 10, 1981, Hospice Information & Referral Service was incorporated with Rev. Donald Ray, president, and Patricia Kennedy, secretary. The earliest activities were carried out on a volunteer basis from a second-floor office in Sinclairville, New York. The mission was to improve the care of dying patients in collaboration with other healthcare agencies, as well as educate the community and provide information services.
During the first year of service, 44 families were served, and the trained volunteers established a network of healthcare agencies in the area.
A satellite office was established to provide better access to services in Northern Chautauqua County. Three years later, a bereavement follow-up program was added to help those who had lost a loved one.
The number of families served increased to 388 and the board determined the organization should become certified and provide direct hospice services. Licensure was granted by the New York State Department of Health, and an amendment to the certificate of incorporation was filed on November 16, 1992, changing the corporation’s name to Hospice Chautauqua County, Inc.
Over the years, our offices have moved throughout the Chautauqua region. Our office is located in Lakewood with a satellite office in Fredonia.
The organization reached a significant milestone when it launched a community-based palliative care program for patients who are not hospice eligible. These patients receive curative treatment for serious illness, but also have the need for other medical, emotional and spiritual care. And in 2016, after more than 20 years, the name of the organization was changed to Chautauqua Hospice & Palliative Care to more accurately reflect the broad array of services provided.