Gift from Lifelong Euclid Resident to Fund Hospice House Upgrades

Guests stroll along the Vista Walk overlooking Lake Erie.

Hospice of the Western Reserve Announces Long-Range Growth Plans

Twenty years ago, Hospice of the Western Reserve began admitting patients at its new hospice house – the first in Ohio and one of only a handful in the country – overlooking 1,200 feet of Lake Erie waterfront. At a recent anniversary ceremony, president and chief executive officer Bill Finn announced the agency is engaged in a master planning process with C.C. Hodgson, a firm specializing in healthcare and senior living design services.

 “This is a multi-year journey,” Finn said, speaking before an audience of staff members, volunteers and community supporters. “Our objective is to set long-term goals for David Simpson Hospice House and the adjacent 12-acre Christian Life Center property we acquired in 2009. As we examine the options to grow and to expand this campus, our focus is on solutions that will most benefit the Northeast Ohio region - our patients, families and the community.” 

The nonprofit community-based agency, one of the pioneers of the hospice movement in the U.S., was founded in 1978 as “Cancer Family Service” in Lake County, Ohio. The organization evolved into Hospice of the Western Reserve, today caring for more than 1,100 patients per day in a service area that encompasses nine Northeast Ohio counties. By October of this year, the organization projects it will care for its 100,000 patient. End-of-life care is provided for a broad range of illnesses. A palliative or “comfort care” program is also available to those who need help managing chronic symptoms earlier in the disease trajectory. Services have expanded to include educational and grief support programs for the general public, the region’s school systems and the professional healthcare community.

Finn acknowledged the generosity of donors, including a bequest from former Euclid resident Helen Kassay - the largest in the agency’s history. Kassay was a Hospice of the Western Reserve volunteer. She and her husband, Steve, were also cared for by the agency.

A portion of the gift, along with those of other donors, will fund new furniture, flooring and window treatments throughout David Simpson Hospice House. Flat screen TVs and virtual-visiting technology will be installed in the 40 suites, allowing family members to Skype with loved ones receiving care there. “Twenty years ago, when we accepted our first patients here, this technology did not exist,” Finn said. “We are grateful for Helen’s gift, which will dramatically enhance the family environment we work so hard to create.”

A large portion of the Kassay gift is earmarked for staff development, including underwriting for the cost of professional certifications. “The funding enables us to continue our focus on specialized training to provide symptom management for even the most complex cases,” Finn said.

Laurie Henrichsen

Laurie Henrichsen, Media/Public Relations Manager, Hospice of the Western Reserve

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Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 7:10 PM, 08.09.2015