South Florida Hospital News
Sunday October 22, 2017
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February 2013 - Volume 9 - Issue 8

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Hospice by the Sea Launches 35th Commemorative Year

More than 200 people recently gathered in the Boca Raton gardens of Hospice by the Sea - staff, board members and family of former patients, along with national and local dignitaries - to initiate the agency’s 35th Anniversary Year with an “Evening of Remembrance.” It was the first of a series of events scheduled to take place during the next 12 months.
 
Paula Alderson, President and CEO, said “Tonight we want to pause to remember all those we have been privileged to serve during the past decades, to take stock of our many milestones.” She introduced Donald Schumacher, President and CEO of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization; Mary Harrison, who founded Hospice by the Sea in 1978, and Susan Whelchel, Mayor of Boca Raton.
 

(l-r) Paula J. Alderson, J. Donald Schumacher, and Mary Harrison.

Dr. Schumacher recounted how hospice has grown from grass roots movements in the 1970's and a handful of start-ups, to more than 5,000 hospices from coast to coast. Praising its patient care as “stellar,” he said, “Hospice by the Sea was among the first, continues to be one of the best, and to this day I consider it a beacon for hospices across the entire country.”
 
“Good models are crucial,” he continued, as the need for care for the baby boomer generation starts to grow and the Government pays increasingly close attention to make sure the expenditure of tax dollars goes for “adequate health care for the appropriate patients at the right time.”
 
Mary Harrison, the founder and hospice pioneer, recounted visiting the first hospice in the United States, the Hospice of Connecticut, to observe how they did things. She returned to South Florida compelled to act because of the less than ideal conditions the terminally ill faced without hospice. She has been involved as Hospice by the Sea grew to include palliative care, home health care, and caregiver support. “I am proud that we are a community based not-for-profit serving the community. I marvel at all we have become.”
 
Hospice by the Sea serves Broward and Palm Beach counties, with offices and facilities throughout both.
 
In this context, Mayor Whelchel, before presenting an official proclamation, offered a personal word about the how the work of Hospice by the Sea touched her family and the close bond between Boca Raton and the organization. “This agency is a jewel,” she said, “without which Boca Raton would not be Boca.”
 
Hospice chaplains from various faith traditions presented an antiphonal, interpretive reading of the 23rd Psalm, and those in attendance were invited to light candles and speak aloud the names of loved ones. Nancy Ann Gillan played the harp, and the Rev. Louis Guerin of the St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary gave the benediction after expressing thanks to the hospice for its participation in preparing seminarians to minister to people facing the end of life, and their families.
 
The “Evening of Remembrance gave people like Erwin Nelson of Deerfield an opportunity to express their appreciation for the evening and hospice care. He was married for 49 years until losing his wife two years ago. He said that his wife benefited first from hospice care at home and later at the inpatient unit. “The volunteers are wonderful here,” he said. Asked if it was difficult to return to the care center, “It’s bittersweet,” he said, “but so necessary for their mission to go on.”
 
At the reception following the ceremony Alderson said that goals for the future include “heightening the profile of our hospice in the community. We want people to know they can access hospice sooner and enjoy quality of life longer.”
 
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