When we received the call asking us to co-chair a capital campaign to open a hospice house, we both knew right away why this is needed and quickly agreed to lead the charge. We are really quite inexperienced at fundraising at this level, but what we both knew is the comprehensive and skilled care that is already being provided by Chautauqua Hospice and Palliative Care did have a piece missing: frequently there are individuals with no family support or their care is too complex to be managed at home. A 24-hour, staffed hospice house is sorely needed in our community.
When Bert came to Jamestown in 1973 to open a practice of surgical care, there was not a hospice care provider, certainly not as we know it today. He was fortunate to be on the ground floor when a group of individual supporters, volunteers and a local foundation were able to offer to our county a “certified” hospice agency.
Mary worked for Hospice early on as the on-call registered nurse and later as a nurse practitioner in both hospice and palliative care. She witnessed many times the beautiful care given by CHPC in the home. But she also saw frail and vulnerable patients transferred in their final days, sometimes to distant communities.
No one can prevent the inevitable, but we can provide these individuals the control they deserve to have a dignified and comfortable death. Many communities have a hospice house; now it is our turn.
We turn once again to the community that saw the need in the 1980’s to bring us hospice care, and now we ask for your support in adding this capstone to Chautauqua Hospice and Palliative Care.
Every day our care teams work to find solutions for our community members in need. The individual circumstances may differ, but the necessity does not.
We’d like to share an experience of a Chautauqua Hospice & Palliative Care (CHPC) client. An elderly couple of limited financial means still lived in their rural two-story home. The wife was bed-bound and declining rapidly while under our care. Her loving husband became exhausted maintaining the household and caring for his wife. His memory was fading, and his wife was not receiving her medications regularly. Their only child lived more than 400 miles away and was able to visit every two weeks. The couple’s few remaining friends were limited in the help they could provide. A member of our hospice care team visited nearly every day, but the elderly wife was often in pain and her husband was growing desperate and frustrated. At the time there were no beds available in local skilled nursing facilities and our only solution was to transfer her to an out-of-area facility. This transfer put her in an unfamiliar setting distant from her husband and broke the bonds she had formed with her hospice care team.
Change one or two of these circumstances and this scenario might reflect the experience of someone close to you. We always knew that we could do better and that our community deserves better. New York State has agreed. We are proud to share with you that CHPC has received approval from the Department of Health to build a Hospice residence on our Lakewood campus. Our Hospice House will annually provide more than 200 of our residents in need with a safe and comfortable environment for their end-of-life care.
To ensure the best possible care for all our clients and their families, we have begun a $2.1 million fundraising campaign. These funds will enable us to purchase the residence adjacent to our campus and transform it into a modern five-bedroom Hospice House to serve our community members when they need us most. Funding will also endow and protect our programs into the future.
But we cannot do this alone. We are truly thankful to the Rappoles for their campaign leadership, and to our entire campaign committee. We are also grateful for the initial support from local foundations and donors, which speaks volumes about the need for this level of care. But we are not done yet. We need your help. We hope you will help us bring a hospice house to our community by giving generously to Our House campaign. Your gift will help bring comfort, dignity and control to our most vulnerable residents in their final days.