Celebrating Hospice House’s 10th Anniversary

Message from Dr. Stephen Kornfeld (current PIC board member/medical director, presented at the 10th anniversary open house on 8/8/13):
Almost 50 years ago, English health practitioners recognized that end-of-life care should be done by a multidisciplinary, focused and highly trained team. These visionaries created the first modern hospice and the hospice movement quickly spread around the world. Twelve years ago here in central Oregon, excellent end-of-life care was indeed happening in the home, the hospital and residential facilities. At the same time, a forward thinking coalition of hospital, hospice and community leaders began to wonder if a dedicated stand-alone hospice facility could further advance end-of-life care in the region. The idea of a hospice house was born. Field trips to a variety of residential hospice facilities in the Tri-Cities, Washington and Missoula, Montana allowed ample time for questions, learning, planning, and dreaming. As a result, 10 years ago this facility was built.

This House has been a game changer. At any given time, fewer than 5 percent of our patients receiving hospice care are in this facility. However, for the many patients and families that have been within these walls, it has been a life changer. With a dedicated around the clock team of highly skilled practitioners, physical, emotional and spiritual distress can be quickly assessed and remedies rapidly initiated. This facility has taken on so many different roles.

It has been a Home for those living on the streets facing the end of life or for those without a social network who can no longer live alone because of advancing illness.

  • It has been a place of respite when the family needs some time to catch up.
  • It has been a change in scenery when the end of life process creates family tension and strife.
  • It has been a step down unit for those hospitalized with an acute event and the future appears uncertain.
  • It has been a transitional care unit when there is the recognition that aggressive care is no longer providing the hoped-for benefit.
  • It has been a home away from home where a large extended family can be with a grandparent, spouse, or even a child at the end of life.

For me personally, taking care of patients at the hospice house is one of the most rewarding aspects of my profession. This is a building filled with tears, laughter, memories, family and final goodbyes. It is a space that inspires hope; a sanctuary and a place of solace.

I look forward to the Hospice House taking on expanding roles in the future. Not surprisingly, palliative care, transitional care and expert end-of-life care will all be a pivotal part of health care reform. Such care requires highly trained physicians, nurses, social workers and spiritual care specialists. I envision that this facility can become not just a regional, but a state wide training center for students from the many disciplines involved in end-of-life care.

As a physician, care provider and resident of Central Oregon, I remain grateful for this Hospice House and all those that work here.

Thank you.
Stephen Kornfeld, MD

Message from Peggy Carey (former board member and campaign chair):
“I am proud that Hospice House is serving the central Oregon communities in all the ways the founding board members, the supporting agencies, and the citizens of the communities envisioned.
Hospice House is a community jewel for Bend. Partners in Care and Hospice House make it possible for the Bend community to care for citizens from birth to death with all of the support needed at end of life—a challenging time for most of us. My husband Tom and I were in Bend visiting from Colorado when he died last year (2012). I felt blessed to be in the arms of the care team that I knew would support him in his dying and my family in living. The experience was an affirmation of the need for quality end of life care.”

Message from Vicki Young (sister of Kirby Nagelhout, Building Contractor for Hospice House who also died in PIC hospice care in 2011):
“I will not be able to attend, but I celebrate your tenth anniversary of Hospice House. My brother, Kirby Nagelhout, and his company built a wonderful facility for you. It was so heart wrenching for my brother to enter hospice, but I could see that Hospice House was an excellent place for him. Thank you to all your staff for such caring attentiveness. All of you are to be commended!”