Monday, November 14, 2005

Loved ones are remembered at the Tree of Lights: for many, a holiday tradition for 22 years

The first butterfly ornament to be placed on this year’s Hope Hospice Tree of Lights is in loving memory of the mother of Hope’s President, Samira K. Beckwith. Her mother was a hospice patient.

Since 1983, area residents have remembered and honored lost loved ones in a very special way during the holiday season. At the Hope Hospice Tree of Lights at Edison Mall, participants make a donation to Hope and receive a butterfly ornament, the symbol of hope and renewal, to place on the lighted tree.

“Many thousands of people, including myself, have participated over the years, and we return to the tree each year as we do our holiday shopping,” according Beckwith. She said that through this tradition, the community has helped Hope to fulfill its commitment to care for everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. “For me and for many others, it’s a special way to remember and celebrate friends and loved ones who are no longer physically here but live forever in our hearts.”

The Tree of Lights event begins on the afternoon of Monday, November 21 and runs through December 24. The trees are located in Edison Mall, by Dillard’s, near Santa’s station. Beckwith thanked the management of Edison Mall, owned by Simon Property Group, for providing an excellent venue, alongside a steady stream of shoppers. “This space is a major contribution, and their support of Hope enables us to support the community,” she said.

Monday, November 7, 2005

Hope Honors and Serves Veterans and Their Families

For more than two decades, through times of war and peace, Hope Hospice has provided support and services to military personnel in Lee, Glades and Hendry Counties. Samira K. Beckwith, President and CEO, said, “Hope is committed to improving the quality of life for veterans, as they have improved the quality of our lives by protecting and defending our country and our values.”

Beckwith said Hope’s support has also extended to veterans’ families. “As we observe Veterans Day, we should also reach out to the families and friends of those who serve and those who have made the supreme sacrifice,” she said. “They have supported our men and women in uniform, and they deserve our support as well.” She added that providing emotional support to military families is a fitting tribute to all veterans.

Hope provides services to veterans facing end-of-life issues, regardless of their ability to pay, and can assist in identifying other resources to meet medical and other needs.

“We are honored to serve veterans as a way of saying thank you for serving us,” Beckwith said.

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Awareness of end of life care services is important for everyone

In proclaiming November National Hospice Month, President Bush said, "The compassion reflected in hospice care is one of the reasons America has the best health care system in the world. By taking the time to care for others, they are making America a better place."

Last year, Hope Hospice helped to meet the medical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of more than 4,000 patients and their families in southwest Florida. Our patients range in age from newborn to more than 100 years old, with any type of life-limiting illness. As an example of our efforts to anticipate and meet every need, when we recently cared for a newborn, one of our art therapists created a beautifully designed print of the baby's hands and feet, as a treasured remembrance for the parents. In another instance, a woman in one of our Hope Hospice Houses wanted to see her daughter get married but was unable to travel. On very short notice, our care team arranged a beautiful wedding in our own chapel, led by one of our chaplains.

In 2004, we served well over half of everyone who was facing end-of-life issues. Although that figure is much higher than the national average, we cannot rest until everyone becomes aware of the help available at this critical time. Toward that end, we recently opened Joanne's House at Hope Hospice in Bonita Springs, a beautiful 24-bed care facility that enhances access to hospice services for everyone in southwest Florida.

An important part of our work involves helping people and other healthcare professionals to understand the value of hospice care services to patients and families. Hope uses an interdisciplinary team of health care professionals and specially trained volunteers to provide pain management, symptom control, psychosocial support, and spiritual care to patients and their families. The earlier that a person at the end of life is referred to hospice, the more we can help in relieving their pain, easing their emotional stress, and helping the family to cope. There are many who are not yet aware of this, and they wait unnecessarily before seeking care.

Fortunately, we are seeing more and more people in our community looking for information about care at the end-of-life and advance care planning, well before they are faced with a health crisis. Hope is a resource for anyone in need of information about care options and ways to make sure their wishes are met should they face a serious or life-limiting illness.

Hope is working to make southwest Florida a better place by offering our services to everyone in need, and serving as a resource for making informed decisions about end-of-life care. Raising everyone's awareness of how we can help is our goal during National Hospice Month.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Hope Hospice Helps during Hurricane Wilma

During the week of October 23, many in southwest Florida - law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency management workers, utility crews and others -- worked selflessly and tirelessly through Hurricane Wilma and its aftermath. They made the work easier for the staff at Hope Hospice, whose mission was to provide exceptional care and support to all people touched by end-of-life issues - no matter what adverse circumstances might be surrounding them.

As Wilma approached, the Hope Hospice team helped evacuate patients who could not remain in their homes. They were brought to our three hospice houses and were cared for around the clock in a tranquil environment, warmly sheltered from nature's violence outside. Meanwhile, others on the hospice team had to make sure that patients throughout Lee, Glades and Hendry Counties would have the medications and oxygen they might need in the uncertain days ahead.

It is difficult to imagine working under such conditions. Yet, even in such tragic moments, life goes on. Babies are born, people must be rescued or protected, and people pass away. Those in life's final stages need someone to care for them. For my hospice heroes and all of our local emergency workers, mission accomplished.

Thank you for a job well done.

Samira K. Beckwith, President and CEO

Friday, April 1, 2005

Conference on Aging Event

Hope Hospice will host the Fourth Annual Southwest Florida Conference on Aging, to be held in Fort Myers on Friday, April 15. The Conference is sponsored by Osterhout & McKinney, PA., Elder Law Attorneys.

The conference will provide information and discussion on a wide range of issues related to aging. Sessions will offer education in health care, mental health, ethical issues, planning for caregivers and other topics.

The conference is being held in conjunction with the White House Conference on Aging, to be held in October and is an effort to assist the public and private sectors in promoting the dignity, health, independence and economic security of current and future generations of older persons.

Hope Hospice President and CEO Samira K. Beckwith said, “We are proud to host this important event because of its relevance and importance to so many in our community.” “This conference is an excellent forum for determining what more can be done to meet the needs of our aging population,” added Julie Osterhout, Managing Partner - Osterhout & McKinney.

The conference will be held at the Holiday Inn Select at the Bell Tower Shops in Fort Myers, from 8 AM to 4 PM on April 15.

Tuesday, March 1, 2005

Hope Chest Receives Generous Donation of Office Furniture from SouthTrust Bank

SouthTrust Bank has donated a large amount of executive office furniture and equipment to Hope Chest, the Hope Hospice resale store. The items are now on display and for sale.

“We are thrilled by the generosity of SouthTrust Bank and retired SouthTrust President and CEO Dick Ackert. The proceeds from all sales of this high quality furniture will benefit Hope patients and their families,” said Hope President and CEO Samira K. Beckwith. “We are grateful to have a major financial institution supporting our community in this way.”

The items include:
- Wooden and metal desks
- Credenzas
- File cabinets
- Hutches
- Conference tables
- Bookcases
- Chairs, and much more

Saturday, January 1, 2005

Hope Chest Says "Thank You" to the Community with Special Sales

Hope Chest, the Hope Hospice resale store, has a special Valentine’s gift for the community during the entire month of February.

According to Hope President and CEO Samira K. Beckwith, “Because the community has been so kind to us with their donations of high-quality merchandise for resale, we want to express our gratitude by offering a month of special shopper opportunities.” Beckwith added that proceeds from all sales benefit Hope Hospice patients and their families.

Each week in February, selected items will be offered at a significant discount:
  • Week of January 31: Appliances, electronics, and 3- and 4-wheel motorized scooters, 50 percent off.
  • Week of February 7: Organs and pianos, 50 percent off.
  • Week of February 14: Clothing, 75 percent off (unless otherwise marked).
  • Week of February 21: Furniture, 25 percent off.