Sara Worden Takes on a New Role at Hospicare 

Hospicare is pleased to announce that Sara Worden has stepped into a new role as Director of Development and Community Relations! Sara has more than ten years of experience in community-facing service, relationship-building, and event coordination here in our region, the last three years here in Hospicare, where she has cultivated valuable relationships with providers and human service partners. 

Sara has a unique and authentic vision for a future where Hospicare is more interconnected with our community and its values, and grounded in a place of gratitude and hope. Sara says “I’ve loved working at Hospicare and I’m excited to serve our community in this new capacity! I look forward to strengthening our relationships in the community to ensure a long lasting and thriving organization that provides kindhearted care to Cortland and Tompkins counties. Don’t hesitate to reach out at any time with questions or ideas for collaboration!”

You are invited to join Sara and Joe Sammons for virtual open office hours on Zoom. Tuesday, September 14, 4-5pm. Sara can be reached at sworden@hospicare.org or 607-272-0212.

Collaboration between Hospicare and Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes

Hospicare & Palliative Care Services and the Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes (CRCFL) both share a common goal to be accessible to diverse populations throughout our community. CRCFL supports people living with and affected by cancer and Hospicare provides end-of-life care and grief support. Both are nonprofits serving several counties in central New York. 

Throughout the year, we’ve connected faith leaders with our resources through programming such as webinars, and promotional outreach via digital and print materials. Perhaps most valuable, are the two Community Conversations that we hosted with faith leaders. Our goals were to listen to the needs of the faith leaders and to help bridge the gap between faith and healthcare. 

“Hospicare is proud to be a part of the ecosystem of organizations committed to a better, more just world, from health care to human services to the arts to the environment and so many more.  That ecosystem – so vital to our survival as a people and as a planet — is strengthened when organizations collaborate” said Joe Sammons, Executive Director of Hospicare.

Kim Pugliese, Executive Director of the Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes (CRCFL) and Joe Sammons, Executive Director of Hospicare & Palliative Care Services in the CRCFL Healing Garden.

Our organizations were fortunate to have Aleah Thomas, Diversity and Inclusion Programming Assistant at CRCFL leading the project. Aleah provided the glue that we needed to keep momentum through the year. 

“I am so grateful for this opportunity to collaborate with Hospicare’ said Aleah. “It has been so rewarding to work together to achieve the same goal of reaching underserved communities.”

Together through this partnership, we have reached out to dozens of faith communities throughout Tompkins and Cortland Counties and we look forward to these relationships deepening. 

Kim Pugliese, Executive Director of CRCFL said “We are so grateful to both Aleah and Hopsicare for the opportunity to collaborate on this outreach project. The opportunity to be more inclusive and reach populations who wouldn’t traditionally think to connect with us for support is invaluable. I know from personal experience how hearing “you have cancer” can make the floor drop out from under you.  We want to make sure that NO ONE faces cancer alone….and that everyone can have access to resources to make that journey less overwhelming or isolating.”

It is our hope that these initiatives are only the beginning of a long lasting relationship between our organizations and communities of faith.

An Introduction to Hospicare and the Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes with Kim Pugliese and Joe Sammons.

We would love to share more information with you and your congregants! We are happy to speak briefly during your in-person or virtual services during your announcements period. If live engagement is not feasible at this time, we are happy to send brochures for your bulletin or send digital materials to include in your e-newsletter. If you would like us to connect with your organization, please contact us. 

For more information on our organizations you may visit crcfl.net and hospicare.org. Our teams are ready to serve you!

Hospicare Welcomes Natalie (Jenereski) Daffinee to the Board

Hospicare & Palliative Care Services welcomes Natalie (Jenereski) Daffinee as our newest member of the Board of Directors. Natalie’s term began in June.

For the past three years, Natalie has served as the Associate Director of Social Media Strategy at Ithaca College. She graduated from IC with a degree in television-radio. Prior to returning to her alma mater, Natalie worked as a Digital Public Relations Strategist at a PR agency in Tennessee and was a broadcast journalist in Chattanooga and Binghamton. When she’s not working, Natalie enjoys playing tennis, cooking, and going on hikes with her husband, Tyler, and their dog!

Natalie has served on Hospicare’s Development & Community Relations committee for the past two years, and has provided valuable input into marketing and communications strategies for the agency.

“My husband and I recently decided to put down roots in Ithaca, and I was looking for some ways to get involved in the community that we both deeply love and appreciate,” says Natalie. “The mission of Hospicare & Palliative Care Services speaks to my soul, and I look forward to contributing to its success.”

Warm greetings to Hospicare’s new board members

With the start of 2019, Hospicare & Palliative Care Services was thrilled to welcome three new members to its Board of Directors:

Rev. Tim Dean is the Director of Spiritual Care at Cayuga Medical Center, where he has worked since 2007. Tim is chair of the CMC Ethics Committee and serves on the Palliative Care Team. Tim’s faith, rooted in evangelical Christianity, has grown into an ecumenism that celebrates all people and welcomes all faiths. He describes himself as “a Baptist with some Buddhist leanings.” Tim’s personal interests include outdoor pursuits, especially on Cayuga Lake (paddling, fishing, sailing). Tim occasionally works as an instructor/facilitator for Cornell Outdoor Education to bring balance to his work at the hospital.

Michael Kilmer, a lifelong resident of Cortland county, is Executive Director of the Elizabeth Brewster House, a licensed adult care facility for up to 45 residents.  He holds an undergraduate degree in Therapeutic Recreation from SUNY Cortland, and a masters in social policy from SUNY Empire State University. Happily married with two children, Michael and prides himself on his work in the community, including serving on the Board of Education for Homer Central Schools, on the board of the Hospice Foundation of Cortland County, and with a variety of other committees and councils.

Dr. Kathryn Rooth completed her Internal Medicine-Pediatrics Residency at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Massachusetts.  After residency, she started working as a Hospitalist at Cayuga Medical Center and as an Urgent Care Pediatrician.  She has been involved with the Palliative Care team at CMC and is passionate about end of life care in the developmentally disabled. For the past several years, Kathryn has participated in Women Swimmin’ where her husband and 3 children cheer her on. 

Members of the Board of Directors are some of the many volunteers who choose to help Hospicare each year. Volunteers serve on committees, assist with office work, volunteer at special events and – of course – work directly with patients and families in their homes or in our residence. Each individual is critical to our work to broaden Hospicare’s community reach in Tompkins and Cortland County, helping to ensure all who desire and need our services have access to them.

Thank you!

For more information on volunteer opportunities, contact Volunteer Manager Wendy Yettru at 607.272.0212 or wyettru@hospicare.org.

Hospice Utilization Climbs in Both of the Counties We Serve

Our lives are largely guided by our values, and as an organization, Hospicare is no exception. One of our core values is excellence, which we define, in part, as a commitment to continuous improvement in everything we do. We expect and remain open to change, recognizing that it is inevitable and necessary for all growth. It’s this value that encourages us to take time to assess and reflect on how we’re doing, and it drives us to improve access to and the quality of our services over time.

Whenever we have the chance, we dive deep into data, which can help provide valuable insights, especially when we can compare other similar organizations to our own.

Recently, metrics were shared with us that showed we are growing in a very important area. A newly released Hospice Analytics report of 2016 Medicare data showed that community members who need our hospice services are more successful in finding and accessing them. The measure, which is referred to as “hospice utilization,” is measured by the percentage of Medicare deaths in each county that occurred on hospice services.

The data told an interesting story, and one that we are proud to share with you.  Across our service area, in both Tompkins and Cortland counties, hospice utilization increased between 2015 and 2016.  Tompkins county hospice utilization increased by 3.7% and Cortland county experienced a growth of 3.6%.

While we’re proud of these statistics, and the community relations and outreach work that no doubt contributed to it, we’re more happy that this growth means that more patients and loved ones gained access to our services.

Bottom line: we’re reaching more families in both of the counties we serve.

At the same time, we will not rest on our laurels.  Excelling in the context of hospice utilization in New York State is a great start, but we can always improve. We wouldn’t be embodying our value of excellence without looking to identify where we still have work to do.

One way we could be doing better is by getting involved with patients earlier, which would help introduce families to our services sooner and would increase the quality of life of patients in their final months. Like most New York hospices, our average length of stay is low compared to the national average. And this is where we need your help!

Help us get the word out so our services to reach the people who need them most. Talk to your friends and family about hospice services and the options they have when facing a life-limiting illness. Read more about why it helps to understand palliative care options before you’re sick. Connect with a staff person at Hospicare directly to discuss a patient – family members, friends, neighbors, and even casual acquaintances can make a referral. Additionally, we welcome the opportunity to speak to your group, large or small, about hospice or palliative care services in Tompkins and Cortland county. Email our outreach and communications manager at communcations@hospicare.org or give us a call at 607-272-0212.

Tips & Tricks for Registration Day 2018!

Gearing Up for Women Swimmin’ 2018

On the morning of Saturday, August 11, 2018 Cayuga Lake will be bustling with activity for the 15th Annual Women Swimmin’ for Hospicare.  Women Swimmin’ is a community swim—not a race—that raises money to support of the work Hospicare & Palliative Care Services. More than 300 women will swim 1.2 miles across Cayuga Lake that day escorted by nearly 200 boaters and supported onshore by 100 volunteers. Dozens of other women will be swimmin’ laps in pools in Tompkins and Cortland counties, across the country and even around the world in the months leading up to August 11.

Photo by Frank Leahy

Women Swimmin’ is Hospicare’s largest fundraising and community outreach event of the year.  Many of the services we provide to our community are possible because of the generous support we receive though Women Swimmin’. Obviously, all of us at Hospicare think it’s a wonderful event, but you don’t need to take our word for it!  The following is what some past participants have said about Women Swimmin’.

From women who swam across Cayuga Lake:

  • “My favorite part of Women Swimmin’ is the sense of community, joy and love on the day of the event, meeting new people, and knowing that I’m helping a family receive the end of life support the need.”
  • “It was one of the most beautiful and powerful days of my life and I can’t wait to do it again and again. The greeting I received coming out of the water from one of the volunteers moved me to tears.”
  • “I believe in the purpose, in Hospicare. The swim is a wonderful way to raise money and give back. Swimming across the lake I swim with all I have lost. Shadow swimmers beside me crossing the lake on a beautiful morning.”

From women who swam Laps:

  • “It just feels good to do something that is good for the community as well as for your own health.”
  • “I loved being able to swim Laps because I couldn’t make it back home to Ithaca for the swim! It was fun to stay involved despite being farther away.”

From some of our boaters:

  • “Rain or shine, wind or calm, it’s a great day. A chance to be on the water, do good, honor those that are gone, celebrate with those that are here, and help promote an extremely important and worthy cause.”
  • “It is a fantastic way to support friends, families and Hospicare. In a world that is full of negatives, this is a celebration of Life.”
  • “Hospicare was my family’s blessing a few years ago. I was glad to give back to them!”

If you’d like to join us for Women Swimmin’, as a swimmer, boater or volunteer, here’s what you need to know to participate in this year’s event:

  • Lake Swimmer registration will open May 7 at 6:00 AM. In past years swimmer registration filled in 2 to 3 hours, so if you’d like to swim the lake this year, we suggest you plan on setting your alarm for 6:00 AM on registration day. This year’s event is eagerly anticipated by women in our community–and beyond. Some will even come from other states and other countries to participate!
  • Boater registration opens April 15 and will be ongoing until August 5.
  • Women Swimmin’ Laps–where swimmers swim at their own pace in a swimming pool of their choice– opened for registration March 15 and will be ongoing until August 10.
  • Volunteer –registration opens May 15. We rely on the help of over 100 volunteers to make Women Swimmin’ possible!

For regular updates on the 2018 event, “like” Women Swimmin’ on Facebook.

For more information, visit www.womenswimmin.org

Recognizing Community Support of Hospicare

At its heart, Hospicare & Palliative Care Services is a community organization, supported by and providing service to our friends and neighbors throughout Cortland and Tompkins Counties. We could not fulfill our mission of supporting those dealing with serious illness or grieving a loss, without the aid and involvement of our community. The annual Hospicare Recognition Luncheon allows us to come together with our friends and neighbors to show our appreciation for their contributions.

This year’s Luncheon, sponsored by Rasa Spa, was held October 5 at The Space @ GreenStar in Ithaca.

Amy Dickinson was our keynote speaker. A native of Freeville, a nationally known author and syndicated columnist of “Ask Amy,” Dickinson delivered a wonderful speech full of insightful commentary on life and meaning at the end of life.

We also presented two honors:

Candy Cima, founder of Small Comforts Foundation

The Small Comforts Foundation, Ltd. received the Dr. R. Roy Coats Compassionate Care Award. This award is given to a caregiver or group of caregivers/agency, for consistently providing exceptional, compassionate care to Hospicare patients, allowing them to live their lives as fully as possible. Small Comforts is a local non-profit foundation “dedicated to funding and administering programs to raise the morale and or quality of life for people of all ages living with chronic illness.” Our Hospicare patients have been beneficiaries of Small Comforts compassion and generosity many times over the past 13 years. Some of the items they have funded include air conditioners for patients who didn’t have AC in their homes; a juicer so a patient could have fresh, nourishing juice; and warming gloves for a patient’s arthritic hands.

Chuck Guttman

Charles Guttman received the Hospicare Volunteer Honor in appreciation of his 30 years of service to Hospicare. The Volunteer Honor is given to an individual volunteer or board or committee member who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to Hospicare and its mission. Chuck has volunteered through the years as a member of the Hospicare board of directors and the Foundation Board, and as an an advisor to the executive director on legal issues. He has also co-chaired the Hospicare Ethics Committee.

 

Thank you to our event sponsor
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Women Swimmin’ 2017 a Success!

On Saturday, August 12, 2017, 284 women gathered to swim across Cayuga Lake (a distance of 1.2 miles). They were escorted by 150 boaters in kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddleboards and powerboats. And they were supported on shore by 130 volunteers who helped out at Cass Park, the Ithaca Yacht Club, the swim entry on the east shore, and in the days and weeks before the swim. Joining these swimmin’ women in spirit, if not in person, were 38 women who swam laps in pools throughout our community and around the world!

The women who decide to participate in Women Swimmin’ for Hospicare do so for many reasons. Some are swimming in memory or honor of a loved one who received hospice services. Some are swimming because they understand the importance of hospice services and want to make sure Hospicare will be here to support their family someday. Others swim for the physical challenge or the camaraderie of this community swim. One reason they all swim was proudly declared on our t-shirts, buttons and posters: “I swim to celebrate life.”

Some of the Hospicare Angelfish – our staff who swam for Women Swimmin’ 2017

At its very essence, hospice is a philosophy of care that celebrates life. Hospicare’s mission is to support our patients so they can live their lives as fully as possible, for however much time is left. Our team of skilled professionals and trained volunteers work together to provide physical, emotional and spiritual comfort to our friends and neighbors who are dealing with terminal illness. All of us here today, plus thousands of donors around the world, have come together to make sure that care continues.  To make sure everyone in our community can receive the hospice and palliative care they need to live their lives fully, regardless of whether they have insurance or means to pay.

Celebrating life and living life fully means different things to each of us. Obviously, it can mean swimmin’ or boatin’ across Cayuga Lake, or back and forth in a pool!

For some of the people we support, living life fully might mean:

  • a portable oxygen tank so he can go out to dinner with friends or watch a grandchild’s ball game.
  • a wheelchair and a raised garden bed so she can get outside and plant flowers
  • a volunteer to help her sort through and organize family photos
  • a social worker–and others–trying to make sure a beloved pet finds the right next home
  • a grief support group with others who are also grieving the death of someone they love

Most of all, it means there is an entire Hospicare team to make the burden of caregiving and dying just a bit easier.

All of us at Hospicare are immensely grateful for these swimmers and boaters who have given of their time and put forth great energy to fundraise for Hospicare. We also appreciate the volunteers and boaters, the friends and families who have supported our swimmers, and also to the corporate sponsors and underwriters who covered the expenses associated with the event. We truly could not support our community in all the ways we do without your amazing support.

Thank you!

No One Swims Alone

No one swims alone. I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve said or typed that phrase in the seven years I’ve worked at Hospicare and been involved with Women Swimmin’ for Hospicare. It’s an important part of our Women Swimmin’ event—that no swimmer should be alone as she crosses Cayuga Lake. She should always be with an escort boat and ideally with other swimmers. Many swimmers and boaters say their favorite part of Women Swimmin’ is the community of the event and seeing so many other swimmers and boaters around them in the lake. It can be intimidating to be in the middle of a big, deep lake, but our swimmers are not alone out there.

The women who are swimming laps as part of Women Swimmin’ Laps for Hospicare are also not swimmin’ alone. They’re in pools with a certified lifeguard watching to make sure they’re safe. Some laps swimmers are part of a Women Swimmin’ team, who are fundraising together. Even if each swimmer is swimming her laps solo, she joins in the sisterhood of Women Swimmin’ for Hospicare. She is swimmin’–just as 1400 other women have swum over the years—to raise funds that support quality, end-of-life care for our community. While she swims her laps, she carries with her the memory of friends and family who have been served by Hospicare.

I’ve come to learn, and our Women Swimmin’ participants know or have learned, that “no one swims alone” is not just a Women Swimmin’ protocol but also a mantra for hospice care. Our staff and volunteers work together, as a team, to care for and support our patients and their families. Hospice is unique in that the focus of care is not only the patient’s physical needs, but also their spiritual and emotional needs, and those of their loved ones.

Our interdisciplinary team of staff and volunteers work together to anticipate and meet the various needs of our patients and their families. Some of those needs are medical (medications, medical equipment, personal care); other needs are logistical, emotional or spiritual. Whatever the need, there is someone on the Hospicare team who will make sure that need is met.

The journey of illness, death and grief is a difficult one. Your support of Women Swimmin’ for Hospicare means that our patients and their loved ones won’t have to make the journey alone. Hospicare will be there, with skilled staff and trained volunteers to provide the support, guidance and care that’s needed.

Because no one swims alone.


Melissa Travis Dunham was previously our manager of community relations at Hospicare. She was the event coordinator and helped organize Women Swimmin’ for four years.

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