Hospicare’s roots in central NY stretch back more than 35 years. Here are some of our historical highlights:
Community leaders began meeting to determine the need for a hospice through a committee created by the Tompkins County Health Planning Council board.
The committee developed an organizational plan for a local hospice.
Hospicare of Tompkins County opened for business in space provided by the county government in the Biggs Building near the hospital. The first coordinator also provided nursing care for patients.
Hospicare of Tompkins County was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization.
Hospicare was recognized as an independent New York State hospice
Hospicare supporters began dreaming, planning, and fundraising for a hospice residence.
Construction of the Hospicare Residence began on East King Road.
Our Residence opened as the first free-standing hospice residence in New York State. Nina Miller was named executive director of Hospicare.
Hospicare was renamed Hospicare and Palliative Care Services of Tompkins County, to reflect the addition of a palliative care program, one of the first in the state. Dr. Eric Lessinger became our second Medical Director, upon the retirement of Dr. R. Roy Coats.
The first year for Women Swimmin’ for Hospicare, which quickly became a beloved annual event in the Ithaca area and our major fundraiser. Since then, Women Swimmin’ has raised over $3.6 million for Hospicare.
Our music program was founded with the help of a grant. Today the program is lead by Music Program Coordinator Jayne Demakos, CTHP, and focuses on therapeutic music for those at the end of life.
Our building was named in honor of Nina K. Miller upon her retirement as executive director.
Dale Johnson became Hospicare’s sixth Executive Director. Hospicare celebrated World Hospice Day by staging a Voice for Hospice concert. More than 100 local musicians shared their talents for this special event.
Dr. Suzanne Anderson became our third Medical Director, upon the retirement of Dr. Eric Lessinger. In September, Hospicare became the provider of hospice services in Cortland County — and the agency became known simply as “Hospicare & Palliative Care Services.”
Women Swimmin’ Laps for Hospicare was added as an alternate swimmin’ and fundraising opportunity for women who are unable to participate in the Lake swim. In its first year, 19 women swam in pools around Ithaca and as far away as Hawaii.
Dr. Diane deFerrante joined our staff as Associate Medical Director, overseeing the care of patients, primarily in Cortland County.
The kitchen of our Hospicare Residence was renovated thanks to a fundraising effort led by volunteer Virginia Spears. The space was designed and constructed by Andy Foster of Foster Custom Kitchens, who organized and recruited dozens of community members who contributed their time and talents to the renovations.
Following the retirement of Dale Johnson, Kim De Rosa was hired as Hospicare’s seventh executive director. Dr. Anderson also celebrated her retirement, as Dr. Lucia Jander became Hospicare’s new medical director.
COVID-19 required creativity to help “save” the summer’s Women Swimmin’ for Hospicare. The agency canceled the lake swim due to safety concerns and expanded the event to allow for people of all ages and all genders to join and help raise awareness and funding for Hospicare. “Go the Distance for Hospicare” made quite the splash, raising more than $420,000 for the agency during an extraordinarily challenging year.
Hospicare has a staff of about 85, approximately 120 volunteers and serves more than 500 patients each year in Tompkins and Cortland counties.