Niagara Hospice House, Niagara County's only residential hospice house and in-patient facility, is marking a milestone. On June 5, Niagara Hospice will celebrate 10 years of comfort and care provided at Niagara Hospice House.
"We welcomed our first patients at Hospice House on June 5 in 2007," said Janet Ligammari, RN and director of hospice clinical and facility services. "Since then, we have met over 3,000 patients, and their families, all of whom we consider a privilege to serve."
A Niagara Hospice House open house will be held from 4-7 p.m. Monday, June 5, at 4675 Sunset Drive, Lockport, to commemorate the 10-year anniversary, and to welcome the community in for guided tours, a brief rededication ceremony, refreshments and conversation.
The facility is often described as more as a five-star resort. It started out at 24,000 square feet. In 2010, two additional suites were opened on the residential wing, bringing the total number of longer-term residential suites to 10. The general in-patient wing also has 10 suites designed for patients needing short-term medical monitoring for symptom management.
Niagara Hospice co-founder and board member Patricia Evans said, "We had been dreaming of having a hospice house in Niagara County since the early 1980s when we started establishing a hospice for Niagara County. We knew it was needed then and, since serving our first hospice patients in 1988, many of our patients and their families had been asking for residential hospice care. It's hard to believe our dream has now been in operation for 10 years and has served so many of our friends, family and neighbors."
Each suite at Niagara Hospice House was designed with patient and family in mind with a sitting area and easy-chair sleeper. Each family also has access to gathering rooms, lounges, fireplaces, a chapel and the Niagara Hospice Memorial Gardens. Niagara Hospice House also boasts a 1,000-gallon salt-water aquarium for visitors and residents to enjoy.
To ensure they were making the "house" feel like a home, "Some of our staff and board members visited several hospice houses in the northeast to see how other organizations provide this service," said John Lomeo, Niagara Hospice and HomeCare Partners president and CEO. "We asked what these organizations liked best about their hospice house and what they might have done differently. This provided tremendous feedback for us during the planning stages."
To additionally commemorate the 10th anniversary, staff and volunteers are working on gathering Hospice House memories for a book to be shared at a later date with Hospice friends and family. Organizers request families served by Niagara Hospice House who wish to share a memory for the book submit materials by email to [email protected]
. Pictures of loved ones can accompany the story, which only needs to be a paragraph or two.
Niagara Hospice Director of Marketing, PR and Volunteer Services Tricia Degan said, "Some of these families have already come forward and agreed to a video-taped interview that will be part of an educational presentation that can be shared at the open house and in the community through our speakers bureau."
Degan said no one tells the story of Niagara Hospice better than the families who have experienced care first-hand for a loved one. "In doing these interviews, the recurring theme is that, although Niagara Hospice House is a beautiful structure with a calm and comforting atmosphere, it is the people - the staff and volunteers - that families remember most," she said. "The compassion and caring that each have for every patient and family member is paramount."
A printable invitation to the June 5 open house can be found on the event calendar page at www.NiagaraHospice.org
. The event is open to the community and no RSVP is required. Degan encouraged attendance from anyone unfamiliar with hospice care as well as from anyone served by Niagara Hospice. She said the time to learn about hospice is before a family needs the specialized care of their hospice and palliative care team.
Niagara Hospice has provided comfort and care to over 25,000 individuals and their families since 1988. For more information, visit www.NiagaraHospice.org
or call 716-439-4417.