Thursday, December 9, 2010

When is it Time for Hospice?

Hospice brings compassion, dignity and hope to people nearing life’s end

For some people living with a life-limiting illness, there comes a point when cure is no longer possible. While the possibility of a cure is gone that does not mean a patient and family must abandon all hope. Through hospice care, there is still hope for a peaceful death; hope to spend final months, weeks or days free of pain; and hope for quality time with loved ones in the familiar surroundings of home.

“While there isn’t one specific point in an illness when a person should ask about hospice care, many hospice professionals would suggest that a person think about hospice long before he or she is in a medical crisis,” advises J. Donald Schumacher, president and CEO of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. “In fact, learning about palliative care and hospice as options is something that should happen early in the course of a serious illness and not just in the final days.”

Hospices utilize a team of professionals and trained volunteers to provide expert medical care, pain-and-symptom management, and emotional and spiritual support to patients and family caregivers. All care is tailored to the patient’s needs and wishes.

Hospice helps patients and families focus on living as fully as possible.

“Hospice professionals can be important resources for patients and families, they can help a person figure out what goals are important and help them get their arms around the fact that their life may be coming to a close,” noted Schumacher.

Considered to be the model for high-quality, compassionate care for people nearing the end of life, hospice offers the services and support that Americans want when coping with life-limiting illness.

Last year, hospice cared for more than 1.56 million patients in the US. NHPCO estimates that 41.6 percent of all deaths in the US were under the care of a hospice program last year.

Facts about hospice:

  • Most hospice care is provided in the home. Care is also provided in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and hospice centers.
  • Hospice care is fully covered by Medicare, private insurance, and by Medicaid in most states.
  • Hospice care is not just for people with cancer. Hospices serve those with advanced Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, lung disease, HIV/AIDS – anyone who is facing a life-limiting illness.
  • The hospice benefit pays for medications and medical equipment related to the illness.
  • Hospice care is available as long as a doctor believes the patient is eligible.
  • Hospice care can include complementary therapies, such as music and art, to bring additional comfort.
  • Hospice’s offer grief support to the family following the death of a loved one.
“Ideally, an individual would receive hospice care for the final months of life – not just the final days,” stated Schumacher. “One of the most common sentiments from families who have been helped by hospice care is that they wish they had known about hospice or been referred to hospice sooner.”

A recent report from the Dartmouth Atlas Project looking at care for patients with advanced cancer at the end of life identified gaps between patient wishes and care received. This highlights the need for people to learn about all options available for care.

Additional research published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management found that Medicare beneficiaries who received hospice care lived on average 29 days longer than those who did not opt for hospice near the end of life.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Naples Daily News: Hope PACE

Naples site chosen for federal program to keep elders out of nursing homes
A Southwest Florida-based hospice organization is in the preliminary stages of offering a new program in Collier County to help frail individuals stay home and out of nursing homes.

Hope HealthCare Services, headquartered in Fort Myers, has leased 8,600 square feet of retail space in Marquesa Plaza at Livingston and Pine Ridge roads for a federal Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, known as PACE. It involves an array of medical, social and rehabilitative services to frail elders, enabling them to remain in their homes as long as possible and avoid nursing homes.

“In Florida, Hope was the second PACE program,” said Samira Beckwith, president and chief executive of Hope, with the first PACE program started by the Miami Jewish Home and Hospital. “There are about 80 PACE programs in the country right now.”

The plan is to open the Collier program next fall. The nonprofit hospice organization started a PACE program two years ago in Fort Myers and launched one in Charlotte County this past fall.

“The goal is to keep them home and keep them out of nursing homes,” Beckwith said.

Program enrollees don’t have to be hospice patients, she said.

Program services are tailored to each frail elder’s needs but generally encompass home visits to help with daily living needs, such as dressing, providing transportation to doctors’ appointments, assistance with medications, a 24-hour call for help, and providing transportation to the PACE center for socialization and activities, she said.

The leased space in Marquesa is for administration of the program but also will be where the PACE center holds activities.

The program was designed by the federal government for Medicare enrollees, Medicaid patients and private-pay patients. In Florida, the program is administered by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs.

“You have to get approval to submit an application,” Beckwith said. “You can’t submit an application until you have your location.”

Beckwith said there will be community education programs in Naples to make people aware of the program when it is nearly ready to launch.

Officials at Avow Hospice in Collier had no comment about it because it isn’t a service that Avow offers, Avow spokeswoman Kit Chamberlain said.

The reason why Hope officials have expanded into this realm of services is because they have the qualified labor force and program components needed to do it. It is not a money-making program, Beckwith said.

“It’s because we are utilizing our core skills,” she said. “We saw we could utilize our core skills.”

Hospice teams are trained to keep frail people comfortable in their surroundings, help them keep their quality of life, and can offer medical services and counseling.

Beckwith said cost estimates for the Collier program aren’t done yet, but there will be interior construction work. New jobs will be created but she didn’t have a figure and some of the economic impact will be in the form of adding services to existing social service contractors.

http://www.naplesnews.com/

Thursday, November 11, 2010

News-Press Guest opinion: Hope Hospice is committed to offering care that improves patients' quality of life

As part of National Hospice Month in November, the entire care team at Hope Hospice is committed to providing community education about hospice care so that you, your family members and loved ones have all the information you need - even before you need us.

Here are 10 things everyone should know about Hope Hospice:

  • Hospice is not a place but is a program of comprehensive care and services that brings the patient and family the medical, emotional and spiritual support they need during life's final journey.

  • We are passionate in our belief that nobody should suffer needlessly. Our palliative care programs are specially designed to ensure comfort and dignity.

  • For the team at Hope, hospice care is about adding quality to each individual's life for as long as possible, whether days, months or even years. In fact, national studies confirm that those facing a life-limiting illness who seek hospice care actually live better and longer.

  • Enhancing an individual's quality of life means they're better able to enjoy the company of family and friends during their time in our care, whether it's sharing a meal, an art therapy session or even a walk in the park. These interactions and experiences help create lasting memories that can help to ease the pain of losing a loved one.

  • Hope Hospice is committed to providing quality hospice care and support to patients and their families in whatever place they may call home - a private residence, nursing home, assisted living facility, or one of our four Hope Hospice houses, which are designed to embrace the entire family in a homelike setting.

  • Eligibility for hospice benefits often begins sooner than you think and is typically available much longer than you might expect. Talk with your doctor about the options for hospice as soon as a life-limiting diagnosis is made.

  • It's important to know that Hope Hospice cares for every individual facing a life-limiting illness, regardless of age, illness or ability to pay. Nobody is denied our care due to lack of insurance.

  • While losing a loved one is a natural process that each one of us will likely experience numerous times in our lives, coping with each loss can be extremely difficult without loving support. Hope Hospice offers grief and bereavement services to family members - including programs specifically for children - as well as to the community.

  • Hospice serves people of all backgrounds, traditions and religions, and allows them to be with their families while receiving care. Emotional and spiritual support are available to help ease the transition and are tailored for each individual's personal needs.

  • Hospice care need not be something that we fear; rather, having an understanding of how hospice can enhance the quality of each day of life can help us embrace hospice to ease the transition for our loved ones.

  • Taking time today to learn more about the benefits of hospice can help each of us care for our loved ones with kindness and compassion through quality hospice care, whenever that time may come.

  • For more information, call us at 482-4673. Visit HopeHospice.org to learn more about the month-long series of community events that are helping us celebrate National Hospice Month.
Samira K. Beckwith is president and CEO of Hope HealthCare Services, a nonprofit, 501(c)(3)-status community-based agency offering programs and services in Lee, Charlotte, Collier, Hendry, Glades, Desoto, Highlands, Hardee and Polk counties.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It's Never Too Late To Say 'Thank You' to Our Nation's Veterans: Even at The End of Life

Americans across the country celebrate Veterans Day on November 11, a special day to salute the men and women who have bravely served our country in the military.

These fellow Americans have made profound sacrifices in defense of freedom and they deserve our heartfelt thanks and appreciation. Honoring our nation's Veterans includes supporting them throughout their entire lives, especially at the end.

As our nation marks Veterans Day 2010, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization deepens its commitment to increase Veterans' access to the compassionate, high quality care available from the nation's hospice and palliative care providers.

NHPCO has been a long-time supporter of the valuable work being done by the Department of Veterans Affairs to bring palliative care services to VA Medical Centers and the communities they serve.

This past month, NHPCO in collaboration with the VA, took a great step forward to help healthcare providers better serve Veterans at life's end by launching the website www.WeHonorVeterans.org, the centerpiece of the new We Honor Veterans campaign. This campaign will help those who provide care at the end of life, better understand the unique needs of our nation's Veterans.

But there is something that every American can do to honor and serve our Veterans - and that is to say, "thank you." Not just on November 11 but all year long.

Ask your friends, neighbors, coworkers and others in your community whether they have served in the military (you may be surprised how many have) - and thank those who have served for their sacrifice.

A generation of World War II and Korean War Veterans are facing end-of-life care decisions now, and they are quickly being followed by younger Vietnam War Veterans, many of whom are confronting serious illnesses at an even earlier age.

It surprises many Americans to learn that every day, 1,800 Veterans die. That's more than 680,000 Veterans every year - or 25 percent of all the people who die in this country annually.

The liberty that we, as US citizens, enjoy comes at a price paid by these valiant men and women. Let each of us make sure we do our part to recognize and support them throughout their lives.

If you know a Veteran who is in need of the special care hospice and palliative care brings to people facing serious and life-limiting illness, please reach out and help them learn more about care options. Information is available from NHPCO's Caring Connections at www.caringinfo.org or by calling the HelpLine at 1-800-658-8898.

To all our nation's Veterans, thank you.

J. Donald Schumacher, PsyD
President/CEO
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
Alexandria, VA

Monday, November 1, 2010

Florida's Governor Proclaims November as National Hospice Month

Hope Hospice Offers Free Community Events to Celebrate National Hospice Month

Ice cream, art, chocolate and yoga are only a few of the ways the Southwest Florida community can celebrate National Hospice Month and support Hope Hospice in November.

Hope Hospice has partnered with local businesses such as Bistro 41, Norman Love Confections, and California Pizza Kitchen to create “Celebrate Life and Give Hope,” a month-long offering of events and programs supporting Hope Hospice.

A portion of the proceeds from the month’s activities directly benefit Hope Hospice, helping the nonprofit organization continue its mission of providing comfort and care for people in life’s final chapter and their families. Hope’s special care is available to everyone, regardless of illness or ability to pay.

Events are scheduled throughout the month and are free and open to the public. Full details, including dates, times and locations, are available at www.hopehospice.org/november

“National Hospice Month provides us with an opportunity to help our friends and neighbors in Southwest Florida understand and support the unique brand of care that Hope Hospice offers,” said Samira K. Beckwith, president and CEO of Hope HealthCare Services. “We’re truly grateful to all the partners who are helping make this such a meaningful outreach program in the community.”

News-Press: Hope Hospice, FGCU join green movement

Florida Gulf Coast University has taken the LEED to ensure its campus and the buildings on it are green-friendly.

The university is following a national trend of sustainable development, under guidelines set by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The purpose behind LEED, or the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification system, is verification that a building is designed and built to save energy, increase water efficiency, reduce CO2 emissions, improve indoor air quality, and demonstrate stewardship of resources.

It goes up by credits and guidelines met, from basic certification to LEED silver, gold and finally platinum.

Achieving LEED certification was a a key element in the school's signing of the American College and University's Presidents' Climate Commitment, a promise by the institution to take "actions to make climate neutrality and sustainability a part of the curriculum and other educational experience for all students."

Donna Henry, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, oversees Academic Building 7, which received the highest ranking last month.

"It's very exciting," Henry said. "Instead of saying it was too much money, architects to the majority of workers in construction all backed this, saying it was the right thing to do."

The 62,000-square-foot, four-story building houses labs for physics, biology and chemistry as well as math labs, specialized research labs and a Geographic Information System computer lab.

It also accommodates offices, conference rooms and a 160-seat lecture hall.

Environmentally sound elements include high-efficiency light fixtures, windows and insulation that reduce energy requirements by 18 percent, saving more than $50,000 annually; a high-performance reflective metal roof; and shade overhangs and high-efficiency bathroom fixtures that reduce water usage.

Even the building's landscaping was designed to be drought resistant and incorporates native and Florida-friendly plants that will need no watering once they are established.

FGCU is not alone in its quest for LEED certification.

The 46,604-square-foot Hope Hospice center on Beth Stacey Boulevard in Lehigh Acres was completed earlier this year. The Kraft Construction project was built with sustainable practices and has been submitted for LEED certification.

Folks with Hope Hospice are waiting to hear about certification on its recently completed center on Beth Stacey Lane in Lehigh Acres.

The 46,604-square-foot project was built with sustainable practices and includes a 10,000-gallon underground storage tank and backup emergency generator, enabling the facility to safely operate for several weeks during emergencies, such as hurricanes.

There's also solar-powered signage at the entrance to the center, another way to conserve energy.

"When we planned the construction of the Hope HealthCare Services Center, we wanted it to be energy-efficient and environmentally friendly," Beckwith said. "We wanted to be good stewards of our resources."

Retailers join in

LEED certification is not just for academic buildings and hospice centers. Restaurants, cafes and grocery stores, it seems, are in an all-out race to be green.

A Subway shop in Chicago -with its tile, crown molding and most wall coverings made from recycled materials - is a first of its kind in a major city for the chain. In the bathroom, sensors control water flow, timers manage lights, and the toilet has a low-flow option. A smart air-conditioning system normalizes temperature between the bread ovens and the eating area.

A Dominick's grocery store, also in Chicago, has been rebuilt from the ground up with sustainability in mind. The store, in the Lincoln Square neighborhood, features high-tech, energy-saving equipment, such as heating and cooling systems tied into sensors that normalize temperatures from the bakery to the frozen-foods section.

Starbucks, meanwhile, has vowed all of its new, company-run stores will meet the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED standards by year-end.

A variety of factors have encouraged green buildings.

Subway and Dominick's, which is a division of Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway Inc., cite a slight improvement in the economy, and some cities, like Chicago, have streamlined the green permitting process.

Subway and Dominick's, which is a division of Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway Inc., cite a slight improvement in the economy, and some cities, like Chicago, have streamlined the green permitting process.

But, most important, stores almost need to go green to retain and grow their customer base, said Robert Passikoff, founder of Brand Keys, a consultancy that measures customer loyalty. He said consumer interest in a corporation's environmentalism is five times greater than it was a decade ago.

"It's one of those things you can't ignore," Passikoff said. Green buildings, he said, resonate with consumers even more than corporate pledges to recycle or purchase carbon offsets. All things being equal, the customer will choose the green company, or the milkshake from the green restaurant, he said.

From a business perspective, motivations for building green appear to be threefold: energy savings, customer goodwill and marketing.

Passikoff noted that going greener is just the first step.

"The issue isn't just doing it, but doing it believably and communicating it believably," he said. "Right now, if I told you BP is doing a heck of a job with the environment, would you believe me?"

A company's commitment to going greener, he said, "should be part of the entire brand equity approach," integrated into everything from advertising to public relations.

Savvy retailers such as Starbucks know this and believe it's a reason customers may pay more for their coffee. The chain also certifies free-trade coffees and touts its relationships with farmers in the world's coffee-growing regions. Its store-design strategy has become another extension of the same message.

Dominick's sees a link between going green and building goodwill.

"A lot of what we've done is based on requests from consumers," company President Don Keprta said during a recent tour of the store. "Everyone is very conscious of the greening of the country."


The 46,604-square-foot Hope Hospice center on Beth Stacey Boulevard in Lehigh Acres was completed earlier this year. The Kraft Construction project was built with sustainable practices and has been submitted for LEED certification. (Special to news-press.com)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Samira K. Beckwith Receives National Honors for “Outstanding Contributions to Healthcare”

In recognition of her career-long efforts to “make healthcare safe, quality-driven and cost-effective for all,” Hope HealthCare Services President and CEO Samira K. Beckwith has been presented with the first annual Dorland Health People Award.

Dorland, a leading healthcare media publisher, recognizes professionals who are “shining examples of the dedication and commitment to enhanced patient care.”

Beckwith was cited for her career in social work and her leadership of Hope HealthCare Services, where she has enhanced the care of hospice patients and introduced new, innovative programs to meet the needs of the frail elderly as well as people of all ages who are chronically ill.

“This award is a tribute to the tireless work of our caring staff and volunteers,” Beckwith said. “It is a privilege to lead this great group of people as we make a difference in the lives of so many in our community.”

The award ceremony was held at the National Press Club in Washington DC.

Monday, September 6, 2010

"Love That Dress" at Hope Chest

Hope PACE and PACE Center for Girls Fashion a Partnership

Whether you’re looking for a special dress for homecoming or a new outfit for work, try on some of the hundreds of beautiful dresses just added at Hope Chest Resale Store. These new and gently used dresses are a portion of those donated to the “Love That Dress” event held by the PACE Center for Girls September 1.

Through a joint partnership between the PACE Center for Girls and Hope PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly), the dresses are now available at Hope Chest, in North Fort Myers, at a fraction of their original prices.

“We are so pleased to partner with the PACE Center for Girls to create this unique, fun shopping opportunity,” according to Samira K. Beckwith, President and CEO of Hope HealthCare Services, which offers the Hope PACE program. “It is a pleasure to collaborate with the PACE Center in support of the community.”

The two organizations are unaffiliated although they have much in common, as they both focus on adding quality to the lives of others. While the PACE Center supports young women, Hope PACE helps people 55 and older to live in good health, safely and independently.

Beckwith added, “You’ll have to see the display to believe it. Hope Chest is a huge store, yet we had to make extra space to accommodate all of these beautiful outfits.” Items include formal wear, wedding gowns, business and casual dresses in all sizes and styles, along with accessories.

Proceeds from sales of these dresses at Hope Chest will be shared by the two non-profit programs.

Hope Chest is located at 13821 North Cleveland Avenue in North Fort Myers. The store is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Hope Parkinson Program Presents Educational Series

The Hope Parkinson Program will present a three-part educational series in Port Charlotte in October, for those living with Parkinson’s and their care partners.

The series will focus on improving quality of life by increasing knowledge about Parkinson’s disease, with information on treatment options and ways to continue living independently.

There is no cost to attend.

The series
  • Session One: What is Parkinson’s disease? Symptoms and symptom management
    Tuesday, October 5, 10 am – 11:30 am

  • Session Two: Managing Parkinson’s through movement, exercise and the creative arts
    Tuesday, October 12, 10 am – 11:30 am

  • Session Three: Living with Parkinson’s: Being in control
    Tuesday, October 19, 10 am – 11:30 am
Location: The Hope Care Center, 3280 Tamiami Trail #46, Port Charlotte, in the Promenade

Seating is limited and reservations are required. Please call (239) 322-5327.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Samira K. Beckwith Named “Community Action Hero”

In recognition of her success in making “positive change happen for thousands of people every day,” Samira K. Beckwith, President and CEO of Hope HealthCare Services has been named a “Community Action Hero” by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).

The NASW award recognizes leaders in social work who “organize people, resources and allies to improve the lives of individuals in their community and across the country.”

Beckwith has served as President and CEO of Hope HealthCare Services since 1991. Under her leadership, Hope has introduced an array of comprehensive long-term care programs in addition to hospice, which has become a model of coordinated care for other healthcare organizations. She was honored by the NASW in 2007 as a “Social Work Pioneer.”

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Charlotte County Seniors Now Have Access to Affordable, Comprehensive Healthcare

Like many people throughout the country, Charlotte County’s frail elderly residents worry about the future of quality healthcare, and being able to afford it. They may also be troubled by the thought of having to move to a facility to receive the care they need.

Hope Healthcare Services is introducing a program to specifically address their concerns and meet their needs.

Hope PACE (Program for All-inclusive Care for the Elderly)
enables Charlotte County seniors to continue to live independently at home and have all their required preventive, primary, acute and long-term care services brought to their door.

Hope President and CEO Samira K. Beckwith noted, “On too many occasions, we have been told, ‘I can’t make a choice between medicine and groceries. I just want to be able to take care of myself at home.’ Hope PACE is the only program of its kind in Charlotte County that will alleviate those concerns.”

Beckwith added, “People usually want to live at home for as long as possible, although they may need special healthcare services in order to maintain their independence. Hope PACE meets their needs and at the same time makes life much easier for their family caregivers.”

Hope PACE serves individuals age 55 and older who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. The enrollee must be able to live at home safely with additional services as needed. Upon enrollment, participants may receive:

  • Primary medical and nursing care
  • Occupational, physical and speech therapy
  • Medications and medical equipment
  • Laboratory and diagnostic services
  • All necessary prescription drugs
  • Skilled home care and personal care aides
  • Hospitalization, skilled nursing facility care and end of life care
  • Care from medical specialists in cardiology, nephrology, ophthalmology, dermatology, orthopedics, surgery and podiatry
  • Transportation to and from the Hope PACE Center, medical appointments and outings

The broad range of services also includes access to the Hope PACE Center, a state-of-the-art adult day health facility. Here, clients can socialize and participate in stimulating activities including light exercise, games, and arts. Healthcare services are also available on site.

This comprehensive, coordinated approach eliminates the need to access individual services from multiple care providers.

“A critically important benefit of Hope PACE is the support it gives to family members,” Beckwith said. “Caring for an aging loved one is one of life’s most difficult challenges. Family members have the peace of mind that comes from knowing that their loved one is receiving all the care they need in a safe, comfortable and familiar environment.”

Hope PACE enrollment begins September 1. The program is based at the Hope PACE Center, located at 3280 Tamiami Trail, Suite 46, in Port Charlotte.

Beckwith is urging Charlotte County residents to call now for more information: 866-659-PACE (7223).

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Samira K. Beckwith Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award for Social Work


“She has made exemplary and visionary contributions in the field of health care and social work, driven by a life-long passion to help others to live a better life, even in its final chapter. Future generations will be served by her innovations.”

With that introduction, Hope HealthCare Services President and CEO Samira K. Beckwith was presented with the Knee/ Wittman Award for Lifetime Achievement in Health Practice. The award was presented by the National Association of Social Workers Foundation in Washington, DC.

The award was created to recognize those who reach the highest levels in representing the profession’s values and ethics. It is named in honor of Ruth Knee and Milton Wittman, renowned pioneers in social work who guided the development of social work policy and standards.

Beckwith’s career in social work as a “social architect” began unofficially when she was a student at The Ohio State University, where she earned her BA in Sociology and Master’s in Social Work. At that time, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease. Spending countless hours and days in the hospital, clinics and doctors’ offices with fellow patients, she realized their medical practice at the time was not advanced in regard to pain control, symptom management – and empathy. That was when she made a promise to herself to use her experience to help others live a better life, even during serious illness or in the final chapter. That promise became the foundation of her career. Since then, Beckwith has become a leader in improving and advancing health care on the local, state and national levels. She has served as President and CEO of Hope HealthCare Services since 1991.

“This is absolutely a highlight in my professional life,” Beckwith said. “My career has always been driven by my desire to make a difference and becoming a Professional Social Worker has given me that opportunity. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to make life better for others in our community.”

In conjunction with the event, Beckwith was invited to address the Social Work Policy Institute, a think tank that analyzes health care issues. Based on her own career experience, she gave insight into the essential role of the social worker in hospice care. In working to meet patient and family needs associated with end-of-life care, Beckwith said the social worker’s responsibilities are vast, as they include family education, bereavement care, home safety, assistance with financial planning, and other issues that will ensure the best care for the patient.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hope Student Volunteers: “You get as much as you give”

Hope HealthCare Services has been lovingly supported by volunteers for its entire three decades. Each day, they share their time with others, making a difference in the lives of people in life’s final chapter.

They come from all walks of life, including from local high schools and universities. Hope has made the volunteer program meaningful and enjoyable for students.

A volunteer since she was 15 years old, Breanna Yocum is a ten-year veteran of the program. She says she has “done everything.” Breanna especially enjoys spending time with children in the Hope Kids Care program, which helps children and their families cope with grief or a serious illness. “We play games, read books… it’s a time for them to not think about their illness. What we do is not about their illness, it’s about them.”

Breanna said Hope helped her family when her father was a hospice patient, and she wanted to give back. In her words, “You get as much as you give.” She added, “Volunteering at Hope teaches you how to deal with life, how to relate to other people and situations.” As a psychology student, that is important to her.

Volunteer Shane Lince agrees. “Hope is the best place for clinical experience if you’re going into medical school, because of the interaction with people.” An FGCU graduate, Shane is going to the National Institutes of Health to participate in radiological oncology research. “Entering medical school without working in palliative care would not have given me a balanced perspective,” he said. “I will be much better prepared to help people at the end of life.”

Shane said he was apprehensive on his first visit with a person on hospice care. “When I crossed the threshold into his room for the first time, I didn’t want to appear to be patronizing, but it was never that way. I thought he would want to talk about his condition; he wanted to talk about life, and he was interested in my life.” Shane says this experience will make him a better physician someday.

“Just as our student volunteers enrich the lives of others in the community, they have the opportunity to enrich their own lives through our unique learning and social experience,” according to Hope President and CEO Samira K. Beckwith.

Beckwith pointed out that many young people become Hope volunteers to fulfill their school’s requirement for community service hours. “However, once they get involved, they see it as more than just something they have to do. As one college student told us, ‘I wish I had started doing this a long time ago.’”

Breanna and Shane agree that regardless of where your studies may lead, service as a Hope Student Volunteer is the right choice as a foundation for career and for adulthood. As Shane said, “There is a major need for people to understand” the special needs of others. Breanna knows that she will continue to get as much as she gives.

Nutritious Meals for the Elderly: Hope Connections Supported by the Howard E. Hill Foundation

The Howard E. Hill Foundation, Inc. of Belle Glade is helping Hope Connections in providing nutritious meals to hundreds of elderly residents of Hendry and Glades counties.

The Foundation has awarded a grant of $20,000 to Hope Connections, a program of Hope Healthcare Services.

Through the program, people age 60 and older in Glades and Hendry counties receive vital help in their daily lives. Services include hot meals, personal care, homemaker services, household chores, transportation, medical equipment, counseling and emergency response systems.

In the past year, Hope Connections provided more than 35,000 meals to residents. The Hill Foundation grant will help the agency to continue to provide that vital service.

“For many residents of Glades and Hendry counties, Hope Connections is their only source of a nutritious meal every day,” according to Hope President and CEO Samira K. Beckwith. “We are deeply grateful to the Hill Foundation for giving us their generous and much-needed support.”

The Foundation is named in honor of Dr. Howard E. Hill of Belle Glade, who practiced veterinary medicine and became deeply involved in helping local families obtain affordable housing. In his memory, the Foundation recognizes that a strong community supports the residents within it.

According to Hill Foundation Vice President Jennifer E. Mailman, “Our goal is to help other entities to sustain our target areas of West Palm Beach, Hendry and Glades counties. We are pleased to support Hope Connections in meeting the needs of so many people, honoring the wishes of my grandfather.”

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Samira K. Beckwith appointed to help Florida Chamber Foundation improve the future of Florida’s economy

Samira K. Beckwith, president and CEO of Hope HealthCare Services, has been selected to serve on the Six Pillars Caucus, the Florida Chamber Foundation’s expanded research and policy development effort focused on improving Florida’s economic plan for the future.

Beckwith was selected based on her visionary leadership of Hope HealthCare Services since 1991, when the organization served fewer than 100 patients a day to more than 2,000 patients today in Lee, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hendry, Glades, Hardee, Highlands and Polk counties.

Hope is now one of Southwest Florida’s largest employers and has the broadest geographic service area of any hospice organization in Florida.

The product of years of collaboration and research by the Florida Chamber Foundation, the Six Pillars identify critical factors determining Florida’s future: talent supply and education; innovation and economic development; infrastructure and growth leadership; business climate and competitiveness; civic and governance systems; and quality of life and quality places.

As a member of the Quality of Life and Quality Places caucus, Beckwith will provide strategic recommendations, including corresponding public policy, to be shared with the Florida Chamber of Commerce and other partners in the Six Pillars to help develop priorities for Florida’s economic agenda.

“Florida is moving toward its next economy, and the foundation’s new caucus system will prove to be an invaluable framework to help get us there,” said Jeff Lyash, chairman of the board of trustees of the foundation and executive vice president of corporate development for Progress Energy Florida.

“The Florida Chamber Foundation is a proven leader in tackling the challenges that Florida faces – and none of those challenges is more significant today than our economic strategy to ensure a prosperous future,” Beckwith said. “I’m truly honored to be appointed and look forward to sharing my experiences and knowledge.”

She has been recognized for professional and personal achievements on the local, state and national levels. Most recently, Beckwith was awarded the 2010 Ellis Island Medal of Honor, one the nation’s most prestigious awards, and in 2009 received the Alumni Medalist Award from The Ohio State University Alumni Association and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Stevie Awards for Women in Business. Beckwith’s previous honors include the APEX Award from the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce, Gulfshore Life Magazine’s Woman of the Year, Survivor of the Year for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, and the Junior Achievement of Lee County’s Business Leadership Hall of Fame.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Best-selling author Gail Sheehy addresses caring for a loved one through illness


Samira K. Beckwith, president and CEO of Hope HealthCare Services, summed it up best: “It’s not a matter of if, but when.”

Beckwith, speaking about becoming caregivers for our loved ones, hosted a July 1 event featuring national best-selling author Gail Sheehy, who presented to nearly 100 Hope HealthCare Services supporters. Sheehy’s discussion was based on her book, “Passages in Caregiving: Turning Chaos into Confidence.” The nonfiction work chronicles the challenging path Ms. Sheehy followed in caring for an ill spouse for 17 years.

“Fortunately, those of you who live in Southwest Florida have one of the premier health care systems available to you in your own community through Hope HealthCare Services,” Sheehy said, citing Hope’s broad spectrum of care designed to help persons of all ages who are diagnosed with a life-changing illness.

One program Sheehy recognized specifically was PACE, a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly that Hope offers in Lee County and soon in Charlotte. Available to adults over 55 who qualify for Medicare part A & B or Medicaid, PACE serves those who qualify for nursing home care but want to maintain independent living. The innovative program – offered in only 75 locations in the U.S. – provides help acquiring medical services and supplies, transportation, social and wellness programs and expressive therapies.

“We’re committed to enhancing the quality of life for those in need in our community through a variety of programs and services,” said Beckwith, who opened only the second PACE program in Florida. “Another component of caring for the individual is providing assistance to their caregivers, who can benefit from the assistance they receive through PACE as well as programs offering information and support and specialized services such as respite care and counseling.”

Guests at the event each received a copy of Sheehy’s book, which was personalized during a book signing opportunity following the presentation at Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club.

“Gail’s experiences caring for her husband can help all of us be better prepared,” Beckwith said. “One of the important first steps is becoming aware of the services and programs available in our own communities.”

Friday, May 14, 2010

Samira K. Beckwith Receives 2010 Ellis Island Medal of Honor

Recognized for Her Contribution to the American Way of Life

The National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations Foundation has named Samira K. Beckwith, President and CEO of Hope HealthCare Services, as a recipient of the 2010 Ellis Island Medal of Honor. The medal is presented to distinguished Americans who “represent the very essence of the American way of life, having greatly contributed to our national identity while preserving the distinct values and heritage of their ancestors,” according to the Foundation.

As a young child, Samira Kanaan immigrated with her family to the United States from Lebanon, seeking the American Dream. From her professional beginnings as a social worker, she has become a prominent leader in health care on the local, state and national levels.

The Foundation points out that the Ellis Island Medals of Honor have been aptly named, “for the island is a symbol of diversity of our nation’s people – a people whose genius, culture, artistry and thought have joined to form a single mosaic of many cultures and ancestral backgrounds.”

The Ellis Island Medal of Honor ranks among the nation’s most prestigious awards. The US Senate and House of Representatives have officially recognized the honor, and each year the recipients are listed in the Congressional Record.

Previous Medal of Honor recipients include: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis; Rosa Parks; John Glenn; Muhammad Ali; Lee Iacocca; Donald Trump; Frank Sinatra; Barbara Walters; and six former US Presidents.

“My cultural heritage is an incredibly beautiful gift from my Mother and Father,” Beckwith said. “Coming to America, my parents sought a higher quality of life. Growing up, I was richly rewarded by their sacrifices. I cherished their ideals. My desire to help others live a life of quality is the foundation of my career in health care. I am humbled by this accomplishment and recognition; my parents would be very proud.”

Beckwith was nominated by Fred Pezeshkan, a previous medal recipient. Pezeshkan is CEO of Kraft Construction Company and a member of Hope’s Board of Directors.

The medal was presented during a ceremony on Ellis Island in New York, the historic gateway for millions of people from around the world who sought to become Americans.

The Ellis Island Medal of Honor was established in 1986 by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations Foundation, Inc. (NECO). The creation of NECO was based on the conviction of its founders that the diversity of the American people is what makes this nation great. Its mission is to honor and preserve this diversity and to foster tolerance, respect and understanding among religious and ethnic groups.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Sweeten the Day for Mom and Give Hope to Others


Chocolates ordered online to benefit Hope Hospice

Hope Hospice and Norman Love Confections have created a special offering for Mother’s Day as sweet as Mom herself. This year, Mother’s Day orders placed through Norman Love’s website are even sweeter: For every order placed at www.Hope.NormanLove.com, Love will contribute five percent of the sale to Hope HealthCare Services.

These donations will help Hope continue its mission of providing high-quality, innovative services to families throughout Southwest Florida, including hospice care, according to Samira K. Beckwith, Hope’s president and CEO. “Mothers provide steadfast comfort and care for their families even through difficult times, just like Hope does for those in our care,” Beckwith said. “It’s a special privilege to have this generous support from Norman during the Mother’s Day holiday. We truly appreciate the partnership.”

Love, the Fort Myers-based award-winning chocolatier whose creations are shipped nationwide, established the partnership with Hope in honor of his mother, who was cared for by hospice prior to her death in 1989. Hope Hospice plays such an important role in families throughout the community, and it’s a cause that’s important to me personally,” Love said. “We’re pleased to partner with Hope and to give our customers the opportunity to support the organization.”

For more information, call (239) 985-7795.



Friday, April 16, 2010

Everyone Needs Facts about Advance Care Planning

April 16 is National Healthcare Decisions Day

In a time of serious illness, health care decisions must be made carefully and thoughtfully. Our experience at Hope has shown us that these decisions are extremely difficult in a moment of crisis, whether they are being made by the person in life’s final chapter or by their loved ones.

It is heartbreaking to see family members struggle to make choices when their loved one can no longer respond. “What should we do now?” is a question asked in despair that we have heard many times.

Questions such as this are best discussed well ahead of the time of need, making difficult choices easier. One useful document that Hope makes available for advance care planning is Five Wishes, which Hope makes available to patients and their families. It is a living will that addresses the patient’s personal, emotional and spiritual needs as well as their medical wishes. Using the simple forms, the patient can name a health care surrogate and make choices regarding life support.

Anyone could be affected by a life-changing illness at any time. Whether you are 21 or 91, these documents can help to insure that your health care choices and decisions are honored if you become unable to speak for yourself.

Advance care planning involves:
  • Understanding the patient’s future health care choices
  • Thinking about choices in light of what is important to the patient and family in regard to their values and beliefs
  • Discussing those decisions with physicians and loved ones
  • Preparing written documents to make the patient’s choices known
Research has shown that advance discussion about these issues results in a higher quality of life for patients and their caregivers. In one study, thirty-seven percent of the patients interviewed said they had end-of-life discussions with their physician, and a number of specific benefits were noted:
  • No increase in their rates of depression or worry
  • Lower rates of ventilation and resuscitation
  • Fewer admissions to the intensive care unit
Health benefits such as these bring peace of mind to the patients’ loved ones. For that reason, the most often-heard comment from families in our care is, “We wish we had known about hospice earlier.” By having these conversations, everyone can become more aware of the care that will be available at the moment it is actually needed. Decision-making will be easier.

Discussion about preparing for future health care needs and wishes with patients who have a life-changing illness provides a gift of time and peace of mind by allowing for resolution. It gives the patient time to make choices regarding care while still able to communicate.

The ongoing debate over healthcare reform has made it quite clear that America’s families need accurate reliable information about advance care planning in order to make informed choices before the time of need. Now more than ever, people need information about preparing for their future health care needs and wishes.

April 16, National Healthcare Decisions Day, is a time to raise public awareness and inform others about the necessity of advance care planning. The effort is supported by Hope and other healthcare organizations, along with the American Medical Association and the American Bar Association. An essential part of Hope’s outreach efforts is to clearly explain advance care planning and to stress the value it to the patient and family members. Honoring each persons wishes and choices have always been integral to the Hope philosophy of care.

At Hope, we will continue to provide accurate information to help everyone understand the value and importance of advance care planning. It can make a significant difference.

Please visit HopeHCS.org/fivewishes

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Rainbow Trails Camp for Children Now Accepting Applications

Hope HealthCare Services is now accepting applications for Rainbow Trails, a camp for children aged 6 to 17 and their families in need of special support and counseling.

The all-day camp will take place on Saturday, June 5 at South Florida Community College in Avon Park. Rainbow Trails is provided at no cost to families.

Rainbow Trails includes two programs for children and families, depending on their specific needs:
  • Campers and their families who have experienced the loss a loved one within the past year will gain a better understanding of the loss and grief process. They will have the opportunity to memorialize and say good-bye to their loved one.
  • The camp also serves children who have a long-term illness, along with their siblings who may have lost some of their access to Mom and Dad because of their brother or sister’s special needs. Rainbow Trails will have activities for the parents as well. The families will learn new skills to cope with changing family dynamics.

“At Hope, we know that loss, grief and illness are natural events in life that children may not fully understand,” according to Hope President and CEO Samira K. Beckwith. “Through Rainbow Trails, we can help to alleviate the tremendous emotional burdens that families may be facing. When a little six year-old says ‘Thank you for helping me,’ we know we have made a difference.”

To enroll as a camper or apply as a counselor, visit www.hopehcs.org/rainbowtrailscamp or call (800) 835-1673.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Hope Parkinson Program Supports National Parkinson’s Awareness Month

Each day, hundreds of Lee County residents face one of their greatest challenges in life: living with Parkinson’s disease. The month of April is recognized as National Parkinson’s Awareness Month, to educate the public and to promote support programs that can increase quality of life for those living with the disease, and their care partners.

Parkinson’s disease is known for its visible symptoms, often beginning with shaking, slowness of movement and difficulty with balance, and is sometimes accompanied by depression. Without treatment, the debilitating symptoms progress over time. There is no cure.

Although Parkinson’s disease is usually associated with older adults, it can also be experienced by people in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s.

Each year, 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, along with another 1.5 million who are already affected. The Hope Parkinson Program, the only Parkinson Program based in Lee County, reaches about 500 people who have been touched by Parkinson’s, and their care partners.

Education and support are critical in the life of a person with Parkinson’s, in order to cope and maintain quality of life. During Parkinson’s Awareness Month it’s important to make the community aware that there is hope.

“People with Parkinson’s should have every opportunity to live as well as possible,” according to Hope President and CEO Samira K. Beckwith. “Along with their care partners, they can experience the fullness of life through knowledge, movement, creativity and fellowship – all important components of treatment.”
  • Exercise. A focus of the program is exercise and balance classes that help improve mood, keep muscles strong, and improve flexibility and mobility – all of which helps to reduce the risk of falls. Classes also include dance, art and music and are offered in multiple locations every month; each person participates at their individual comfort level.
  • Support groups. Education programs and discussion groups enable patients and their care partners to learn about common symptoms, pain management, and the emotional impacts of the disease.
  • Socialization. Staying active with family and friends is an important component of living with Parkinson’s disease. A large group of program participants recently enjoyed a seven-day cruise organized by the Hope Parkinson Program.
  • Education. Interactive, educational programming helps participants improve their knowledge of the disease and their quality of life. Monthly lunch-and-learn seminars provide insightful educational topics and time for socializing.

“Parkinson’s Awareness Month provides an opportunity to celebrate the tremendous progress made in the treatment of the disease, as we look forward to the discovery of a cure,” Beckwith added.

For more information about the Hope Parkinson Program, call (239) 985-7727 or visit http://hopeparkinson.org/

Samira K. Beckwith Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award

“She has made exemplary and visionary contributions in the field of health care and social work, driven by a life-long passion to help others to live a better life, even in its final chapter. Future generations will be served by her innovations.”

With that introduction, Hope HealthCare Services President and CEO Samira K. Beckwith was presented with the Knee/ Wittman Award for Lifetime Achievement in Health Practice. The award was presented by the National Association of Social Workers Foundation in Washington, DC.

The award was created to recognize those who reach the highest levels in representing the profession’s values and ethics. It is named in honor of Ruth Knee and Milton Wittman, renowned pioneers in social work who guided the development of social work policy and standards.

Beckwith’s career in social work as a “social architect” began unofficially when she was a student at The Ohio State University, where she earned her BA in Sociology and Master’s in Social Work. At that time, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease. Spending countless hours and days in the hospital, clinics and doctors’ offices with fellow patients, she realized their medical practice at the time was not advanced in regard to pain control, symptom management – and empathy. That was when she made a promise to herself to use her experience to help others live a better life, even during serious illness or in the final chapter. That promise became the foundation of her career. Since then, Beckwith has become a leader in improving and advancing health care on the local, state and national levels. She has served as President and CEO of Hope HealthCare Services since 1991.

“This is absolutely a highlight in my professional life,” Beckwith said. “My career has always been driven by my desire to make a difference and becoming a Professional Social Worker has given me that opportunity. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to make life better for others in our community.”

In conjunction with the event, Beckwith was invited to address the Social Work Policy Institute, a think tank that analyzes health care issues. Based on her own career experience, she gave insight into the essential role of the social worker in hospice care. In working to meet patient and family needs associated with end-of-life care, Beckwith said the social worker’s responsibilities are vast, as they include family education, bereavement care, home safety, assistance with financial planning, and other issues that will ensure the best care for the patient.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Conference on Aging to address the Future of Health Care, VA Benefits and Other Topics

Hope Healthcare Services will host the Ninth Annual Southwest Florida Conference on Aging, to be held in Fort Myers on Friday, April 16. The conference is sponsored by Osterhout, McKinney & Prather, P.A., Elder Law Attorneys.

The conference will provide information on a wide range of issues related to aging, including the role of the health care advocate, brain fitness and the future of health care for seniors. Other topics include accessing Veterans Administration benefits, medical errors, and holistic health.

“This year’s conference coincides with National Health Care Decisions Day,” according to Hope President and CEO Samira K. Beckwith. “Decisions Day focuses on how to make informed decisions and choices regarding future health care needs, and the conference will be extremely helpful in that regard.”

Beth Prather of Osterhout, McKinney & Prather, P.A. added, “Our elder law firm is pleased to sponsor such a quality event as the Southwest Florida Conference on Aging. This conference has earned the reputation of offering excellent opportunities for professionals in the filed to enhance their knowledge of best practices and available resources.”

The conference is presented in partnership with the Alvin A. Dubin Alzheimer’s Resource Center, Florida Gulf Coast University, United Way and Dottie Hummel Consulting.

The conference will be held at the Broadway Palm, 1380 Colonial Blvd. in Fort Myers.

To register to attend, call (239) 433-8069. The registration fee for professionals is $80, $40 for caregivers and students and $70 for United Way agencies. Continuing Education Credits are available.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Everyone Needs Facts About Advance Care Planning

April 16 is National Healthcare Decisions Day

In a time of serious illness, health care decisions must be made carefully and thoughtfully. Our experience at Hope has shown us that these decisions are extremely difficult in a moment of crisis, whether they are being made by the person in life’s final chapter or by their loved ones.

It is heartbreaking to see family members struggle to make choices when their loved one can no longer respond. “What should we do now?” is a question asked in despair that we have heard many times.

Questions such as this are best discussed well ahead of the time of need, making difficult choices easier. One useful document that Hope makes available for advance care planning is “Five Wishes,” which Hope makes available to patients and their families. It is a living will that addresses the patient’s personal, emotional and spiritual needs as well as their medical wishes. Using the simple forms, the patient can name a health care surrogate and make choices regarding life support.

Anyone could be affected by a life-changing illness at any time. Whether you are 21 or 91, these documents can help to insure that your health care choices and decisions are honored if you become unable to speak for yourself.

Advance care planning involves:
  • Understanding the patient’s future health care choices
  • Thinking about choices in light of what is important to the patient and family in regard to their values and beliefs
  • Discussing those decisions with physicians and loved ones
  • Preparing written documents to make the patient’s choices known

Research has shown that advance discussion about these issues results in a higher quality of life for patients and their caregivers. In one study, thirty-seven percent of the patients interviewed said they had end-of-life discussions with their physician, and a number of specific benefits were noted:

  • No increase in their rates of depression or worry
  • Lower rates of ventilation and resuscitation
  • Fewer admissions to the intensive care unit

Health benefits such as these bring peace of mind to the patients’ loved ones. For that reason, the most often-heard comment from families in our care is, “We wish we had known about hospice earlier.” By having these conversations, everyone can become more aware of the care that will be available at the moment it is actually needed. Decision-making will be easier.

Discussion about preparing for future health care needs and wishes with patients who have a life-changing illness provides a gift of time and peace of mind by allowing for resolution. It gives the patient time to make choices regarding care while still able to communicate.

The ongoing debate over healthcare reform has made it quite clear that America’s families need accurate reliable information about advance care planning in order to make informed choices before the time of need. Now more than ever, people need information about preparing for their future health care needs and wishes.

April 16, National Healthcare Decisions Day, is a time to raise public awareness and inform others about the necessity of advance care planning. The effort is supported by Hope and other healthcare organizations, along with the American Medical Association and the American Bar Association. An essential part of Hope’s outreach efforts is to clearly explain advance care planning and to stress the value it to the patient and family members. Honoring each persons wishes and choices have always been integral to the Hope philosophy of care.

At Hope, we will continue to provide accurate information to help everyone understand the value and importance of advance care planning. It can make a significant difference.

Please call us at (800) 835-1673 or fill out a form for a free copy of Five Wishes.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Hope Healthcare CEO makes advocacy her business

Originally published in Fort Myers News-Press Grandeur

Her first bout with cancer, when she was 24 years old, taught Lee's Hope Healthcare Services Samira Beckwith about power at a true grass-roots level. She was in the second year of a master's program in industrial psychology when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease. It was the era, she says, when people still whispered the word "cancer," and when physicians thought that what the patients didn't know about their diagnosis and disease wouldn't hurt them.

Her first bout with cancer, when she was 24 years old, taught Lee's Hope Healthcare Services Samira Beckwith about power at a true grass-roots level. She was in the second year of a master's program in industrial psychology when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease. It was the era, she says, when people still whispered the word "cancer," and when physicians thought that what the patients didn't know about their diagnosis and disease wouldn't hurt them.

"People were well-meaning; people were kind," she says. "But I thought about what I really disliked about the way everyone was treated as objects and diseases."

As Beckwith looked around at her fellow oncology patients (10 scheduled at once with one doctor, she remembers), she saw that the problems weren't with the people but the system.

Today, she's responsible for having changed much of what's typical about end-of-life, or hospice, care. This is true not only locally, in her position as CEO but as a national thought leader on the subject, having testified before Congress about end-of-life care and having held high-profile national association positions.

None of it happened according to plan, which was perhaps the secret path to her current leadership role.

"I prefer the word 'responsibility' to 'power,'" Beckwith says, but if she does wield influence, it's because of the way she's handled the unexpected and not from any five-year plan. If she hadn't had Hodgkin's disease, she wouldn't have gone into health care, says Beckwith, who is also a breast cancer survivor. It freed her in a way, too, she says, to be her authentic self.

"I always wanted to be like everyone else," says Beckwith, from the time she came here as a young child with her parents from Lebanon. Battling her disease, talking to other patients, she came to realize, she says, that "Everybody isn't like everybody else. When you get to know people, you find out they have their own story."

She doesn't count on the solidity of man-made plans. For Beckwith, chance is another word for opportunity.

"Things happen. The only things we can control are our actions," Beckwith says.

Every experience is a learning experience, and everyone holds power.

"Go out in the morning and decide that you're going to smile at everyone-they'll smile back," she says, adding "Wouldn't it be a different world?"

Friday, March 26, 2010

Hope HealthCare Center Brings “Hope Close to Home”

Pictured from left: Rey Pezeshkan, PK Studios interior design; Lee County Commissioner Frank Mann; Samira K. Beckwith, President and CEO, Hope HealthCare Services; Joe Whalen, President and CEO, Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce; Tom Giles, Member, Hope Board of Directors

Hope HealthCare Services has succeeded in “bringing Hope close to home” for thousands of residents of eastern Lee, Glades and Hendry counties. Construction is now complete on the Hope HealthCare Services Center in Lehigh Acres, the only health care center of its kind in the state of Florida.

“The opening of the Center represents a major landmark for Hope in enhancing the care we offer to so many people in need,” according to Hope President and CEO Samira K. Beckwith. “This is a gift of time for everyone in the area – no more long hours driving to other hospice houses and care facilities for services or to visit loved ones.”

Set to open in mid-April, the Center will serve eastern Lee County, including Buckingham, Alva, Gateway, Lehigh Acres and Pelican Preserve, as well as Hendry and Glades counties.

The 45,000 square-foot Center includes:

  • 24 individual care suites for hospice patients
  • Respite areas for loved ones of the patients
  • An Adult Day Health Center, offering Hope Select Care, a Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), where approximately 50 frail and elderly clients will receive care and support each day
  • A Community Education Center which will offer, among other programs, education for family caregivers
  • Bereavement counseling offices
  • Offices for home care teams and volunteers, who serve hundreds of people throughout the area

The Center will also serve as a hurricane shelter for hospice patients living at home who cannot be placed in public shelters. As an added benefit to the community, the Center will receive certification for meeting international standards of environmental quality and energy efficiency.

Designed to meet the ongoing needs of Florida’s growing and changing population, Beckwith described the Center as “the future of health care.”

“We are absolutely thrilled to be able to serve the community in this unique way,” Beckwith said. “We are deeply grateful to everyone who has supported us in this important project.”

The Hope HealthCare Services Center is located at 1201 Wings Way in Lehigh Acres, on five acres of land donated by the Community Health Association.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Hope HealthCare Services Recognized as Patriotic Employer

The National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) has recognized Hope HealthCare Services for “contributing to national security and protecting liberty by supporting employee participation in America’s National Guard and Reserve Force.”

The Committee is a Department of Defense organization that works to develop and promote a culture in which all American employers support and value the military service of their employees.

“We have always enthusiastically supported our staff members who have been called to active duty,” according to Hope President and CEO Samira K. Beckwith. “We feel privileged to support our military in this way, along with the health care we provide to veterans and their families.”

Currently a Hope Chaplain, Jonathan Scalone, is deployed as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force Reserve at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico.

According to Florida State ESGR Chair Phillip Speake, “Since September 11, 2001 more than 750,000 men and women from across America have left their families and employers to serve on active duty. At ESGR, we are very appreciative of the genuine patriotism and support that organizations like Hope Healthcare Services continue to provide to those who serve in the National Guard and Reserve.”

Photo caption: Marianna Grimes of the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (left) and retired Navy SEAL John Klass present Certificate of Recognition to Samira K. Beckwith, President and CEO, Hope HealthCare Services.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Hope HealthCare Services, Norman Love Confections Announce New Partnership

Fundraiser helps Hope provide services throughout Southwest Florida

Award-winning chocolatier Norman Love, founder of Norman Love Confections, and Samira K. Beckwith, President and CEO of Hope HealthCare Services, announced a new partnership that designates five percent of Hope-related sales at Norman Love Confections to the health care organization for one year.

“Hospice holds a special place in my heart,” said Love, whose mother was cared for by hospice prior to her death in 1989. “This partnership is a great way to support an organization that plays an important role in our community and provides excellent services to our families. I sincerely hope the promotion is wildly successful for our friends at Hope.”

Beckwith said the partnership is a natural fit for both organizations. “Chocolates are a favorite way of expressing care and comfort,” said Beckwith, “and providing care and comfort to our patients and families is at the core of Hope’s mission. We truly appreciate Norman’s generous support of Hope through this partnership.”

For more information or to make a contributing purchase, please visit hopehcs.org/love or hope.normanlove.com, or call (239) 985-7795.

About Norman Love Confections:
Founded in 2001 by Norman and Mary Love, Norman Love Confections creates and distributes ultra-premium, handcrafted artisanal chocolates. Based in Fort Myers, Fla., the corporate headquarters encompasses both the production and retail operations. The Chocolate Salon is a stylish retail shop with an intimate ambiance in which customers may purchase chocolates or linger over house-made pastries, gourmet coffees, lattes and smoothies. For more information about Norman Love Confections, visit the Chocolate Salon located at 11380 Lindbergh Boulevard, off Daniels Parkway, in Fort Myers, call toll free 866-515-2121 or visit
hope.normanlove.com.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Hope Hospice Offers Grief Support Services Following Tragedy in Haiti

For those in our community who have loved ones in Haiti, the tragedy of this week’s earthquake has evoked feelings of anxiety, depression and helplessness. The professional grief counselors at Hope Hospice are responding with special counseling and grief support sessions for those in need.

The following sessions are open to the public, at no charge.

* Denotes Creole interpreters available

Monday, January 18 at 6 pm
Fort Myers: Hope HealthCare Services Office
Community Room
9470 HealthPark Circle

Bonita Springs: Joanne’s House at Hope Hospice in Bonita Springs
Community Room
27200 Imperial Street

*Cape Coral: Hospice House Cape Coral
Community Room
2430 Diplomat Pkwy E.

Tuesday, January 19 at 6 pm
*Lehigh Acres: Hope HealthCare Services
25 Homestead Road

Wednesday, January 20 at 6 pm
North Fort Myers: Community Center
13821 N. Cleveland Ave.

For more information, please call Hope Hospice at 800-835-1673, or visit the website at www.hopehospice.org.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union provides a grant for Hope Kids Care through the Suncoast Kids Foundation


Greg Pasanen, Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union Regional Vice President – Cape Coral, and Joan White, Regional Vice President – Fort Myers, present Samira Beckwith with a gift of $30,000 from the Suncoast Kids Foundation. The gift will be used to help children and families in Hope Kids Care.