[BEND, OREGON, March 5, 2024] Partners In Care announces its 45th anniversary of serving Central Oregon as the region’s leading and oldest nonprofit hospice, home health, and palliative care provider.

In 1979, a group of volunteers created their own model of care for people who were terminally ill, based on the hospice philosophy of care that had been adopted in the United States just years earlier. The organization, first known as ‘Friends of Hospice’ evolved into what we now know as Partners In Care, and has been serving communities across Deschutes, Crook, Jefferson, Upper Klamath, and Lake Counties for over 45 years.

“With a team of hospice and palliative care physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, social workers, chaplains, nursing assistants, therapists, grief counselors, administrative and support staff, Partners In Care is now the largest and leading provider of hospice, home health, and palliative care across the region,” said Greg Hagfors, Partners In Care CEO. “I am extremely proud of our mobile workforce of over 200 employees and nearly 200 volunteers who serve patients and their families across a 10,000-square mile area, from Madras to Prineville, Sisters to Redmond, Bend and La Pine and Christmas Valley.”

Partners In Care has evolved and grown over the years but still operates as a community-based organization, with service and stewardship at its roots. As the name Partners In Care suggests, the multi-disciplinary team not only serves patients and families but is also a valuable partner with other community resources and organizations, coordinating care, providing educational offerings, and meeting a broad spectrum of needs for many population segments.

“We start working with families as early as possible to support them during this important time, to help them reduce stress, find peace, and have quality time together. That’s what hope is for me… hope that more families find us earlier, hope that families find peace in the process of the human story.”

Suzanne lafky, family member & board of directors chair

The organization is unique among hospice, home health, and palliative care organizations in the region, having always operated as an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit managed by executives and medical professionals who live in Central Oregon. The nonprofit is guided by a board of directors with strong connections in the community, and decisions are made locally by leadership who employees interact with daily.

Partners In Care, rooted in the local community, celebrates its long history of providing compassionate, professional care with the myriad of services that have evolved through the years. Transitions, which has been available through Partners In Care for 20 years, is a no-cost, non-clinical case management program for medically fragile individuals with a life-limiting illness, including those who may not qualify for home health or hospice care. Skilled professionals provide home health services for patients who are homebound and need short-term medical support and assistance with a serious illness, injury, or recovery from surgery. Palliative care offers specialized medical care for people with a serious illness, helping them enjoy a better quality of life. The palliative care team has been practicing within Partners In Care for 10 years, and providers focus on relieving symptoms related to a patient’s illness or side effects from treatments and help people make decisions about their healthcare options. Additionally, grief support programs offer bereavement counseling, classes, and group gatherings for families during hospice care and after the death of a loved one. The organization also offers unique support for veterans, even if they are not fully funded by Medicare or insurance.

The centerpiece of the services Partners In Care provides is hospice care. Hospice is a philosophy of care that treats the person rather than the disease and focuses on affirming life. This care is delivered wherever the patient calls home and at Hospice House. The new Hospice House, which opened in 2022, doubled the capacity for patients needing skilled care from six to 12 beds, offering both respite and inpatient hospice care. It is the only facility of its kind east of the Cascade mountains, and one of only three in the state of Oregon.

Partners In Care’s six lines of service are covered by Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, or community donations. Over the past 45 years, support from the local community has allowed the organization to expand and provide increased support for the growing population in the region.

“For 45 years, our neighbors and community members have helped make Partners In Care who we are today. Your charitable donations, collaborative partnerships, and dedicated volunteer efforts have helped enable us to deliver compassionate, quality care to Central Oregonians. We are deeply grateful for this support, which empowers us to continue our mission to serve this community,” shared Hagfors.

The theme of the 45th anniversary is “Redefining Hope”, which aims to celebrate changing hope over time and reveal that hope should never be lost, even when diagnosed with a serious or terminal illness.

“We often think about hope as something out in the future. Hope, when on hospice, is many times looking at the here and now. We as a hospice team help families look at what that means and how it changes; it’s really hoping you can find closure, have the best possible treatment to get symptoms under control, knowing that you’ll get the support you need, hope to have family around you, and making a difficult time a little easier,” said Dr. Lisa Lewis, Partners In Care Medical Director.

Suzanne Lafky, Partners In Care Board of Directors Chair, also added “We start working with families as early as possible to support them during this important time, to help them reduce stress, find peace, and have quality time together. That’s what hope is for me… hope that more families find us earlier, hope that families find peace in the process of the human story.”

Partners In Care is seeking stories of impact and testimonials from community members to be featured during the year-long anniversary. To share a story of hope or impact and learn about upcoming events for the 45th anniversary, visit www.partnersbend.org/hope View the full 45th anniversary video on the Partners In Care website and YouTube.

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