History

Hospicare’s roots in central NY stretch back more than 35 years.  Here are some of our historical highlights:

1978

Community leaders began meeting to determine the need for a hospice through a committee created by the Tompkins County Health Planning Council board.

1979

The committee developed an organizational plan for a local hospice.

1980

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.

1983

Hospicare of Tompkins County was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization.

1985

Hospicare was recognized as an independent New York State hospice

Mid-1990s

Hospicare supporters began dreaming, planning, and fundraising for a hospice residence.

1994

Construction of the Hospicare Residence began on East King Road.

1995

Our Residence opened as the first free-standing hospice residence in New York State. Nina Miller was named executive director of Hospicare.

2002

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.

2004

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.

2006

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.

2007

Our building was named in honor of Nina K. Miller upon her retirement as executive director.

2009

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.

2014

Dr. Suzanne Anderson became our third Medical Director, upon the retirement of Dr. Eric Lessinger.
September 2014, Hospicare became the provider of hospice services in Cortland County.

2015

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.

2016

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.

Present

Hospicare now has a staff of about 85, approximately 120 volunteers and serves more than 400 patients each year in Tompkins and Cortland counties.