Recently Ron Sellers, President and CEO of Hospice-Chautauqua County, spoke to members and guests of Chadwick Bay NYS Women, Inc. about the mission and activities of Hospice, and how these benefit Chautauqua County residents.
Hospice care in the county started in 1978. A group of concerned citizens was determined to address the care of terminally ill patients and their families. Incorporated in 1982 as a voluntary not- for-profit organization, the Hospice Information and Referral Service was able to assist 44 families at the time - because of the voluntary work of Hospice Chautauqua County Board members and other professionals from the community.
The organization has certainly grown over the last 30 years. Last year over 625 patients and their families were cared for by the highly trained and skilled Hospice staff. That care included medical care, emotional support, counseling, therapy, spiritual resources, all delivered wherever the people lived, whether in home, nursing home, assisted living, or any other type of residence for those with terminal illnesses. Hospice focuses on providing best possible quality of life for the terminally ill, and comfort to their families.
There are also Palliative Services available for patients who suffer from life limiting or chronic illnesses. These conditions can affect all age groups, and there are resources available which help them. Assistance is available for symptom management, guidance through selection of treatments, counseling for emotional and spiritual needs, access to resources in the community and many others.
Hospice Chautauqua is Medicare certified. Services are paid for by Medicare and most commercial insurers. However, as a non-profit organization, Hospice relies on many volunteers in the community to help carry on the work and fulfill its mission, and is very appreciative of the support that has been given since the beginning.
Through the years many Chautauqua County residents and their families have been helped and comforted by the services provided by Hospice. The organization has received many letters of thanks and feedback regarding the care that's been provided.
Sellers said one comment seems to come up quite frequently, "We should have contacted you earlier." He stressed that the services and resources which are available to patients and families during their most difficult times are only a phone call away, and encouraged people to reach out for assistance.
One is admitted to Hospice care through the referral of one's physician, after diagnosed with a terminal illness. Anyone who is uncertain about whether or not a person would qualify for these services should call Hospice Chautauqua County. The phone numbers are: North County, 672-6944; Mayville area, 753-5383; and South County 388-0033. Hospice's website is www.hospicechautco.org. The office is located at 20 W. Fairmount Ave., Lakewood, NY 14750.