Hospice of Central New York (HCNY) is an independent, community-based, not-for-profit agency committed to providing a compassionate, dignified alternative for people with an incurable illness and limited life expectancy. HCNY is the only agency based in Onondaga County certified to deliver hospice care to the Greater Syracuse area. HCNY operates Hospice of Central New York (HCNY), the Hospice Grief Center, and the Hospice Foundation of CNY.
In addition to providing home care, Hospice cares for people with acute needs in all of our community hospitals and provides its specialized end-of-life care for residents in skilled nursing homes, at Francis House (a residence for the terminally ill), and in senior housing environments. An interdisciplinary team of professional staff (physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains and bereavement counselors) and volunteers provide physical, emotional and spiritual support to enhance the quality of life for our patients and families. Equipment, supplies and medication are delivered to provide comfort, ease pain and address the symptoms of the patient’s illness. Hospice of Central New York’s Grief Center serves as an educational and counseling resource for the community in the areas of death, dying, bereavement support and adjustment to loss.
The agency began in the late 1970’s as a grass-roots movement of community members who saw people dying alone and afraid in the hospital. These visionaries wanted to offer people in their final months of life and their families the support they need, emotional as well as physical, to live this time as fully as possible in comfort at home or a home-like setting, surrounded by family and friends.
Known as The Caring Coalition since 1981, the agency was certified in 1985 by Medicare as a provider of hospice services and became known as Hospice of Central New York. Nationally, as hospice care became an accepted part of the continuum of medical care, the number of patients served increased at a local level. At any given time, Hospice of Central New York serves about 150 patients and families.
While Hospice of Central New York initially served primarily cancer patients, increasingly hospice was seen as a resource for other diagnoses as well. Over the years Hospice has worked to be responsive to the needs of all terminally-ill people including those with Alzheimer’s, heart or lung disease, and AIDS. Patients have ranged in age from newborn to well over 100.
Trained volunteers have always been central to the Hospice mission, offering emotional and practical support for patients and families. The Hospice of Central New York Family Care Giver volunteers undergo extensive training and are a valued part of the patient care team. Hospice is also supported by volunteers who work alongside staff in the areas of office operations, backroom operations, grounds maintenance and fundraising.
The Hospice Foundation of Central New York, founded in 1992, receives and administers gifts and bequests solely for the benefit of Hospice of CNY. In 1997, the Foundation completed a successful $3.2 million capital campaign to “Give Hospice a Home…for Life.” Since that time the Hospice offices are housed in a centrally located debt-free building owned by Hospice of CNY and this location serves as a base of operations for staff and volunteers, who serve a three county area: Onondaga County, western Madison County, and southern Oswego County.
Each year the Foundation raises funds to support Hospice care through special events, direct mail appeals, planned gifts and other outreach activities. It is through the Foundation’s efforts that no one is ever turned away based on inability to pay for hospice services.
The Hospice Grief Center is available not only to families served by Hospice, but to the entire community. The Center’s staff of professional grief counselors provides individual therapy and group activities to people of all ages who have suffered a recent loss. In fact, children’s bereavement care has become a prominent component of the Center. Children’s grief counselors provide after-school programs, a day camp for young children, individual counseling sessions and in-school programs for teachers, all aimed at helping children heal and become healthy, happy citizens.
The Hospice campus also houses the Jivoff Education Center, a training site for students and professionals from nursing, social work, medicine and other disciplines, and for seminars on issues of death and dying. HCNY is committed to engaging the public in end of life conversations and offers a continual array of sessions and workshops, in order to help the Central New York community better plan for and cope with death and loss.
Hospice of Central New York is a member of the Upstate New York Hospice Alliance, a 15-member group of Hospices that pools resources to offer joint educational programs, carry on benchmarking activities, and create standards for program evaluation and negotiate with third party payors.