Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thousands of Christmas Items Available at Hope Chest: 50% off trees, decor, ornaments

Hope Chest, the Hope Hospice resale store, is showcasing thousands of Christmas decorations available at 50 percent off. Among the selections: trees, lawn decorations, ornaments and much more.

The items are all on display in Hope Chest’s Holiday House, offering holiday decorations throughout the year.

All proceeds from purchases benefit Hope Hospice patients and their families.

Hope Chest is located at 13821 North Cleveland Avenue in North Fort Myers. The store is open Monday through Friday from 9 AM until 5 PM, and Saturday from 9 AM until 4 PM. For more information, call (239) 652-1114.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Samira K. Beckwith Elected to Board of National Coalition for Cancer Survivors

Hope HealthCare Services President and CEO Samira K. Beckwith has been elected to the Board of Directors of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivors (NCSS).

NCCS is an advocacy organization that represents the millions of Americans who have lived with, through and beyond a cancer diagnosis.

“Having twice survived cancer, I feel strongly compelled to help others,” Beckwith said. “I am in a position to advocate for changes in how the nation researches, regulates and delivers quality care.”

Beckwith’s term on the NCCS board runs through 2014.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Now is the Time to Give Hope: November is National Hospice Month

by Samira K. Beckwith, President and CEO
Hope HealthCare Services

The month of November is the gateway to the holiday season. For many people, it is a time of love and giving. National Hospice Month, observed every November, is also an occasion for love and giving – and sharing Hope.

Hospice is truly a way of giving and sharing Hope, as it makes the journey less difficult for those in our care, along with their loved ones. Research continues to show that hospice care actually prolongs and improves a person’s quality of life.

The wife of a veteran in our care, married for 49 years, said to me, “My husband has seen battle, and now I have too. This has been the most difficult time of my life, and I needed you.” She let me hold her hand as she wept, and explained, “This isn’t really sadness. Our time together, our life together, was just wonderful.”

She had the support of our Hope Hospice care team, which provided expert medical care to keep her husband comfortable, enabling them to focus on the quality of their time together. Emotional and spiritual support for the entire family ensured their wishes and preferences were always the priority.

National Hospice Month is a time to raise awareness of everyone’s need to discuss their wishes and views for care during a serious illness. This is one of the greatest gifts that we can each give to those we love. And after these discussions it is important to document these wishes in a living will, also known as advance directives, as well as the designation of a health care surrogate. When complete, this simple document states your future healthcare wishes and preferences. In the event you become unable to speak for yourself, your family will be informed of your choices.

We encourage everyone to give hope by supporting others – loved ones, friends, neighbors - who are coping with serious illness. There are many ways to help that are simple and easy, yet will be greatly appreciated:
  • Call to tell them you’re bringing their favorite dish and what time you’re coming. Use disposable containers.
  • Water their flowers.
  • Offer to stay with them, to give their caregivers a break. Invite them out; take them places.
  • Help them to celebrate holidays (and life) by decorating their home or room.
  • Say “I care” through a card, a note or any other meaningful way.
We’ve learned through our experience that even the smallest gestures of care can be the most meaningful and lasting.

Hope can help. To learn more, please visit hopehcs.org, or call (800) 835-1673. Hope encourages everyone to complete an advance directives document. “Five Wishes” includes all the necessary documents and is available on line at no cost at hopehcs.org/fivewishes or by calling (239) 985-7789.

Monday, November 14, 2011

'50/50' inspires essential talks

News-Press
11/14/11
Dan Warner

We went to see the movie “50/50.” So should you.

Not because it was an entertaining movie, which it was.

Not because it was a moving tribute to the best and worst we humans have to offer, which it was.

Not because the guy got the girl in the end and vice versa, which is what happened.

Not because the quality of the writing, the acting and the photography were excellent.

It is a must-see movie because it gave us something to talk about on the way home and then over dinner, something important to all of our lives, something that the lawyers and doctors ask us to talk about, but also something that the reality of which never hit us until the end of “50/50.”

The movie is about a cancer patient, but it is more about dying and what the possibility of dying does to our lifestyle, our relationships and our psyche.

It spurred in us a discussion of what we want when we are dying.

Our talk went beyond the legal stuff.

Sure, we have a living will. We haven’t paid much attention to it and filled out the forms by necessity, not after enough reflection.

Sure, I have long-term insurance to pay for a nursing home. Sure, the government will provide somehow if the insurance isn’t there.

But what do we want from each other? And from other members of our family?

Two quick examples:

Janet doesn’t like people around when she is ill. Like a deer, she wants to lie in a thicket and lick her wounds.

But, we discovered as we continued to talk, it isn’t that simple. She wants me somewhere near. She wants to know that my presence is there and that I am available.

I discovered that I wanted two things: Not to be totally alone and not to burden Janet. I know Janet will find it hard to honor that second wish, but it is real and she needs to make it a major part of her decisions.

I recommend more than seeing the movie. I recommend that estate lawyers use it at seminars, that hospitals make it available for groups and that the hospice people offer copies to families of a newly admitted patient.

Because our discussions, while long, haven’t ended.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Wedding Gowns Abound at Hope Chest: 150 from “Love That Dress”

The holiday season is a popular time to pop the question, and Hope Chest, the Hope resale store, is ready to serve the bride-to-be.

Among the new and gently used items donated to the “Love That Dress” event earlier this year were 150 wedding gowns, from the simple to the extravagant, ranging in size from 4 to 26. The event was held by the Lee County PACE Center for Girls.

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

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.

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.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Hope Hospice Honors Local Navy Veteran

When Anna Ellis finished nursing school, she decided to join the service. She boarded a trolley in her hometown of Mahwah, New Jersey, planning to enlist at the first recruiting office she passed. She joined the Navy.

Now in the care of Hope Hospice at age 88, the Hope Honor Guard conducted a ceremony to thank Mrs. Ellis for serving her country. Honor Guard members are Hope volunteers and fellow veterans.

Veterans in Hope’s care are honored with a special ceremony and the presentation of a Certificate of Appreciation. They are also invited to participate in the Library of Congress Veterans’ History Project recording wartime stories.

The Hope VALOR program - Veterans’ Access to Life Opportunities and Resources - provides additional resources for meeting veterans’ needs related to military service, combat experience, traumatic events and other issues.

“We have always had a special place in our hearts for veterans, and VALOR confirms our deep commitment to them,” said Hope President and CEO Samira K. Beckwith. Hope Hospice was recently honored by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization for “outstanding dedication to serving Veterans.” Beckwith added, “Our VALOR program was developed to provide the support and respect that America’s veterans, men and women, deserve.”

Along with the Certificate of Appreciation, the Honor Guard presented Mrs. Ellis with a specially made camouflage teddy bear.


Hope Honor Guard member presents Anna Ellis with a specially made camouflage teddy bear in recognition of her service to the country as a Navy nurse.


From left – Jim Cerami, Anna Ellis, Ernesto Cruz, Earl Edmondson. The ceremony was held at the Crown Pointe assisted living facility in Sebring.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Hope HealthCare Services Offers Caregiver Support Group

Caring for a seriously ill or frail elderly loved one can be one of life’s greatest challenges. To be an effective caregiver, it is very important to take care of yourself.

Hope HealthCare Services is offering a caregiver support group, to explore ways of coping with many of the emotional and physical issues that accompany the role of caregiver.

This new support group is open to anyone in a caregiver role, at no cost. It’s an opportunity to learn from the experiences of others and to encourage those who are in similar circumstances.
  • Monday, November 14, at Hope Hospice, 9470 HealthPark Circle, Fort Myers

  • Tuesday, November 15, Hope Hospice, 2430 Diplomat Parkway East, Cape Coral

  • Monday, December 5, Joanne’s House at Hope Hospice, 27200 Imperial Parkway, Bonita Springs

  • Thursday, December 8, Hope HealthCare Services Center, 1201 Wings Way, Lehigh Acres
Each group meets from 9:30 to 11:30 am.

For more information, please call (239) 340-0231.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Florida Governor Rick Scott proclaims November as Hospice Month

Link
Download a pdf of the proclamation
by clicking on the image above.

National Hospice Month: A time to educate, commemorate and celebrate

A medical study in 2010 found that patients in hospice care at the end of life were more comfortable, and lived an average of two months longer, than patients who were not on hospice. The study reinforces the need to make everyone aware of the benefits of hospice.

Each year, National Hospice Month is observed in November, to help increase awareness. Hope Hospice, a program of Hope HealthCare Services, has planned several events during November, to reach out to the community – to educate, commemorate, support and celebrate.

There are many ways to observe National Hospice Month:

Nov 4: Stop and Smell the Roses
This is a special day of relaxation and personal time for caregivers at First Church of the Nazarene, 13545 American Colony Blvd., Fort Myers. The event is hosted by Right at Home. For more information or to RSVP, contact Peggy Baker at 239-949-1070.

Nov 6: Hope Sabbath
Churches, temples and synagogues throughout Florida are invited to join in a day of reflection, remembering those who are seriously ill and offering support to family caregivers. Visit Hope HCS.org/November for ideas.

Nov 6: Hope Memorial Services
Invite friends and family to attend one of our memorial services. These gatherings are an opportunity to reflect on cherished memories of loved ones. Services will be held at 2 p.m. at locations throughout Hope’s service area. Visit HopeHCS.org/November for specific locations, or call 800-835-1673 for more information.

Nov 6: Heron’s Glen Craft Fair
The community of Heron’s Glen in North Fort Myers invites everyone to attend its Craft Fair to support Hope. Residents will showcase handmade works of art, baked goods and more, with proceeds benefiting Hope Hospice. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 2250 Avenida Del Vera, HGGCC.com

Nov 7 – 12: Shop for Hope at Evelyn & Arthur
With your donation of gently used clothes or handbags, the ladies clothing store Evelyn & Arthur will provide a discount on your purchases of new items. The clothing drive will benefit Hope Chest, the resale store for Hope Hospice. 26851 S. Bay Drive #144, in the Promenade at Bonita Bay, EvelynandArthur.com

Nov 11: Adopt A Family Kickoff
Hope’s 17th annual Adopt A Family holiday gift drive begins! Consider adopting a family in Hope’s care and invite family, friends or co-workers to join you in giving Hope to others for the holidays. Learn more about this program by calling 239-489-9195.

Nov 12: Danny’s Lazy Daze 11th Annual Celebration
For more than a decade, the patrons of Danny’s Lazy Daze Saloon in Fort Myers have gathered to remember friends and enjoy festive camaraderie to benefit Hope Hospice. This annual event has raised more than $40,000 for Hope Hospice. Cheers! 16200 San Carlos Blvd., 239-466-8400

Nov 12 & 13: Sanctuary Tennis Tournament
The 9th Annual Hope Hospice Tennis Challenge at The Sanctuary on Sanibel Island is sure to be a hit! The event, open to the public, includes men’s and women’s doubles in 3.0, 3.5. 4.0 and 4.5. The format is single elimination with consolation rounds. Bracket winners and finalists receive awards designed by artist Lucas Century. The $75 entry fee includes breakfast and lunch both days. Proceeds benefit Hope Hospice. Contact Christie Bradley for details, to sponsor or to join in the fun. 239-472-5276.

Nov 20: Ride 4 Hope
When longtime Hope volunteer Bill Curtis decided to ride his bicycle for as many miles as his age, he blazed a trail many have since followed. Bill asked his friends and family to support him by riding along or donating to his favorite charity, Hope Hospice. This became the Ride 4 Hope.

On Sunday, November 20th, the ride will take place with various routes that begin at Joanne’s House at Hope Hospice in Bonita Springs. Check-in begins at 7 a.m.

Ride Options include: 62 mile ride (100K), 50 mile ride (80K), and 25 mile ride (40K). Registration Fee is $25 plus a minimum donation collection of $100 per rider. Online registration and more information are available at HopeHCS.org/ride or call 239-489-9164.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fourth Annual Ride for Hope Supports Hospice

Fitness, fun and fundraising are all planned as part of the fourth annual Ride for Hope, in support of Hope Hospice.

Bill Curtis, the event’s founder, is a longtime Hope volunteer who celebrates his birthday each year by riding his age in miles, and raising funds for Hope Hospice. Four years ago, he invited others to join him, and the Ride for Hope was on its way. The ride is held in November, in observance of National Hospice Month.

Proceeds from the ride will help to cover the costs of patient care. Hope Hospice serves everyone in need, regardless of their ability to pay.

A new feature at this year’s event will be a raffle for a Xenith Comp, the winner of Bicycling magazine's 2010 Editor's Choice Award for Best Recreational Road Bike. The bike is valued at more than $2,000. Raffle tickets may be purchased on line or at the event for $25.

See the event webpage for all details

Monday, September 12, 2011

“Love That Dress” at Hope Chest

Hundreds of new and gently used dresses from the recent “Love That Dress” event held by the PACE Center for Girls are now available for purchase at Hope Chest Resale Store in North Fort Myers. Dress sales will continue through a joint partnership between the PACE Center for Girls and Hope PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly).

“We are very pleased to collaborate again with the PACE Center for Girls to create this special shopping opportunity,” said Samira K. Beckwith, President and CEO of Hope HealthCare Services, which offers the Hope PACE program. “Hope Chest is a huge store with a variety of items from furniture and other household items to clothing. The addition of these beautiful dresses enhances the offering to our customers, and supports two great causes.”

Items include formal wear, wedding gowns, business and casual dresses in all sizes and styles, along with accessories. Proceeds from the dresses sold at Hope Chest are shared by the two organizations.

Though unaffiliated, the two organizations have much in common: they both focus on adding quality to the lives of others. While the PACE Center for Girls supports young women, Hope PACE helps people 55 and older who are seriously ill remain living independently. Hope PACE also focuses on support for caregivers, a role traditionally filled by women.

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.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Run to Remember – a Run for Hope

Local runners are now making plans to participate in one of the most popular marathons in the country – the ING Miami Marathon/Half Marathon, to take place on January 29, 2012.

For many of them, it will be a Run to Remember. The National Hospice Foundation’s Run to Remember program is a Participating Charity Group for the ING Marathon, enabling runners to support Hope Hospice. It can also be a memorable way to honor a loved one.

To participate in Run to Remember for Hope Hospice, register at no cost at www.runtoremember.org. Participants set up a personal Web page. Family, friends, co-workers and others should be encouraged to visit the site and make an on line donation in support of the runner.

Fifty percent of the proceeds will go to Hope Hospice, to help care for everyone in need in the local community. The other 50 percent will go to the National Hospice Foundation, to support the work of hospice nationwide.

For more information about Run to Remember, visit http://www.hopehcs.org/RuntoRemember/

The ING Miami Marathon and Half Marathon course is known as one of the flattest, most scenic courses in the country. More than 20,000 people from around the world are expected to participate.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Samira K. Beckwith Featured in Florida Trend

Samira K. Beckwith, president and CEO of Hope HealthCare Services, is featured in the August 2011 issue of Florida Trend magazine in an article titled, “Evolution of a Hospice: Hope HealthCare Services.” The subhead reads, “Samira Beckwith runs her nonprofit hospice as an entrepreneur.”

The article chronicles Beckwith’s 20-year history with Hope, an organization that has grown under her leadership from serving 50 patients a day to 2,400 patients each day and $140 million in annual revenue. Florida Trend also recognizes Hope HealthCare Services as one of the top employers in Lee County and one of the largest hospice providers in the state with 16 offices in nine counties, 1,100 employees and 1,200 volunteers.

“It is certainly an honor to be featured in the state’s leading business publication,” said Beckwith. “I’m especially pleased that Hope was recognized for the comprehensive scope of services and programs we provide to people throughout southwest and central Florida that help add to their quality of life.”

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hope HealthCare Services Recognized as National Leader in Veterans’ Care

Hope HealthCare Services has reached the highest level of achievement in the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s (NHPCO) We Honor Veterans program. The program requires superior standards of quality to ensure that veterans receive the best in care, support, and access to VA benefits.

Nearly 25 percent of the people in Hope’s care are veterans. “We have always had a special place in our hearts for veterans, and this confirms our deep commitment to them,” said Hope President and CEO Samira K. Beckwith. “We are honored to be one of only two healthcare organizations in the United States to receive this special recognition.”

We Honor Veterans complements Hope’s longstanding VALOR program - Veterans’ Access to Life Opportunities and Resources. According to Beckwith, the VALOR program was developed to provide the support and respect that America’s veterans, men and women, deserve. Veterans in Hope’s care are honored with a special ceremony and the presentation of a Certificate of Appreciation. They are also invited to participate in the Library of Congress Veterans’ History Project recording wartime stories.

Together, VALOR and We Honor Veterans provides additional resources for meeting veterans’ needs related to military service, combat experience, traumatic events and other issues.

“We are so deeply grateful for the veterans’ service to our country, and it is a privilege to be able to meet their needs in partnership with NHPCO,” Beckwith said.

For more information, HopeHCS.org/veterans

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Beckwith Elected to OSU Alumni Association

Samira K. Beckwith, president and CEO of Hope HealthCare Services, has been elected to The Ohio State University Alumni Association’s Board of Directors. She will start her five-year term at the conclusion of the September Board of Directors meeting. The Board of Directors is selected by a five-member nominating committee who recommend the directors-elect for consideration after reviewing a nationwide base of candidates.

Beckwith worked her way through college at Ohio State, earning Bachelor and Master degrees in Social Work. In 2009, she received the Alumni Association’s highest honor, the Alumni Medalist Award.

“Like so many of my fellow alums, I take every opportunity to tell everyone I can about the path to a bright future that The Ohio State University provided to me and available for so many others,” Beckwith said. “It is a privilege to serve as an ambassador for my alma mater.

While in graduate school at Ohio State, Beckwith was diagnosed with Hodgkins disease. This started her down a path that has led her to become one of the nation’s foremost advocates for improved end-of-life care. She worked in the field and taught at multiple universities before accepting the position at Hope. She is celebrating her 20th anniversary as Hope’s top executive.

The Alumni Association is a dues-supported organization of graduates, former students, and friends of the university with more than 122,000 members. For more than 125 years, the Alumni Association has been dedicated to connecting alumni, friends and students to enhance and strengthen the traditions and reputation of The Ohio State University.

Beckwith has been recognized for professional and personal achievements on the local, state and national levels. She was recently awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, one of the nation’s most prestigious awards, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Stevie Awards for Women in Business.

Her previous honors include the APEX Award from the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce, Gulfshore Life magazine’s Woman of the Year, and the Junior Achievement of Lee County’s Business Leadership Hall of Fame.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Samira K. Beckwith honored with inaugural Face Award

Hope HealthCare Services President and CEO Samira K. Beckwith has been recognized as an “unsung hero” of positive values and ethnic diversity – an inspiration for others throughout southwest Florida.

Beckwith was presented with the Face Award, created by Gulfshore Business and D’Latinos magazines, celebrating southwest Florida as a beacon for international immigrants.

As a child, Beckwith and her family came to the US from Lebanon, in search of the American Dream. Today, she is recognized as a leader in healthcare on the local, state and national levels. In 2011, she celebrates her 20th anniversary serving as President and CEO of one of the country’s leading hospice and healthcare providers.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Celebration of Women to highlight style of the ’70s

Tickets now on sale for Hope Hospice April fundraiser at Harborside Event Center

Tickets are selling quickly for the fourth annual Celebration of Women to benefit Hope Hospice. The event – which draws a sold-out crowd for one of the most celebrated social luncheons of the year – takes place Thursday, April 28, at the Harborside Event Center in downtown Fort Myers.

This year’s special twist: A lively and fun tribute to the 1970s, with outfits and decorations that embrace the spirit of a decade that saw women’s roles in society evolve significantly.
“This year’s theme, ‘Hope’s Angels,’ is about celebrating the adventure and style of the 1970s to honor the female spirit and the important role women have in our society as caregivers,” said Samira K. Beckwith, president and CEO of Hope HealthCare Services. “It’s also an opportunity to come together and share laughs with friends. It’s the same philosophy we use at Hope every day – to give each person the opportunity to live life to the fullest.”

Individual tickets for Celebration of Women are only $55 each. Doors will open at 11 a.m. with a champagne reception, silent auction and boutique-style shopping, followed by lunch and the highly anticipated fashion show.

Nearly 1,000 guests are expected. The broad variety of vendors will donate a portion of their proceeds to Hope Hospice, and event guests can participate in a raffle for high-end prizes.

“We have more than 20 local women who have been working tirelessly for months to make this event spectacular and, most importantly, to increase awareness and support for Hope Hospice,” said Sandy Stilwell, event chair. “We all face end-of-life issues, whether for ourselves or someone we love, and Hope Hospice provides the kind of exceptional care and services we want for our families and our community.”

Spring, summer and resort fashions– from casual to evening wear – will be featured in the fashion show presented by Saks Fifth Avenue and Bell Tower Shops. Also, event guests will have an opportunity to bid on one-of-a-kind vacation packages, jewelry, spa services, fine dining and more during the silent auction. A washer and dryer will be one of the prizes offered in the raffle.

Proceeds from the event benefit Hope HealthCare Services, with a special focus on Hope Kids Care for children who are in hospice, seriously ill or grieving a loss. Through its Kids Care programs, Hope provides developmentally appropriate services to infants, children and adolescents with life-limiting conditions and their families. Hope’s holistic approach to hospice care for children includes emotional, spiritual and practical support, art and music therapy, massage, aromatherapy and pet therapy. In addition, Kids Care offers pain control and symptom management, counseling and respite for family caregivers. This year, guests at the event will have the opportunity to sponsor a child in Hope Kids Care with a $50 donation. Each sponsor will receive a custom-designed scarf from Hope Hospice.

Major event sponsors include Architecture Inc., Gulfshore Life Media, Harborside Event Center, Home-Tech, The News-Press Media Group, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bell Tower Shops, The George and Mary Jo Sanders Foundation, and TOTI Media, Inc./Times of the Islands.

Tables for eight guests are available for $550; event sponsorships are available from $1,500 to $5,000. Valet parking will be available at Harborside Event Center throughout the event.

For sponsorship information or to purchase individual tickets, contact Sherri Holly at 239-985-7789 or Sherri.Holly@hopehcs.org. For more information about the event, visit hopehcs.org/celebration.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

News-Press Guest Opinion

Love and knowledge improve life with Parkinson's disease

Two years ago, Joann Bacheller thought she was losing her husband Charles; their marriage of many years seemed to be coming apart. "He wasn't listening to me anymore," she told us. "Charles was always the decision-maker, and then he just seemed to lose interest. There wasn't even any expression on his face when he looked at me."

Joanne thought that Charles had fallen out of love - until he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. "We realized that everything I was seeing in Charles were symptoms. He couldn't show facial expressions or make decisions, and had difficulty gathering thoughts in the course of a conversation."

The love was still there and after joining the Hope Parkinson Program, Joanne quickly learned that as the spouse of someone with Parkinson's she must be the care partner, not the care giver. "Charles must continue to live his own life. It won't help if I just try to do everything for him. I give him my support - and my love," she said.

Today, the Bachellers can often be found in each other's arms on the dance floor. They enjoy the foxtrot, the tango and swing dancing - excellent therapeutic activities for Parkinson's - offered through the Hope Parkinson Program.

More than 750 people have been touched by the program - the only Lee County-based Parkinson support program. Many of them have stories like the Bachellers'.

In designating April as Parkinson's Awareness Month, the U.S. Senate recognized that Parkinson's disease is one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases in the country. There is no cure. But there is always hope.

The National Parkinson Foundation projects that one of every 100 Americans age 60 and above will be diagnosed with Parkinson's. According to pharmaceutical companies, Lee County has the highest usage of Parkinson medication in the Southeast.

Movement becomes increasingly challenging as the disease progresses. Exercise and balance classes can help to improve mood, keep muscles strong, and improve flexibility and mobility in order to reduce the risk of falls. As the Bachellers will attest, ongoing education is also essential for those with Parkinson's and their care partners.

The Hope Parkinson Program provides resources and classes at no cost, to meet specific goals:

- Improve the quality of life for those living with Parkinson's disease and their care partners

- Slow the progression of Parkinson's disease by engaging the mind, body, and spirit in therapeutic activities

If you or someone you love has Parkinson's, there is hope. To learn more about the Hope Parkinson Program, please visit our website at hopeparkinson.org.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Love and knowledge improve life with Parkinson's disease


Originally published in the News-Press


Two years ago, Joann Bacheller thought she was losing her husband Charles; their marriage of many years seemed to be coming apart. "He wasn't listening to me anymore," she told us. "Charles was always the decision-maker, and then he just seemed to lose interest. There wasn't even any expression on his face when he looked at me."

Joanne thought that Charles had fallen out of love - until he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. "We realized that everything I was seeing in Charles were symptoms. He couldn't show facial expressions or make decisions, and had difficulty gathering thoughts in the course of a conversation."

The love was still there and after joining the Hope Parkinson Program, Joanne quickly learned that as the spouse of someone with Parkinson's she must be the care partner, not the care giver. "Charles must continue to live his own life. It won't help if I just try to do everything for him. I give him my support - and my love," she said.

Today, the Bachellers can often be found in each other's arms on the dance floor. They enjoy the foxtrot, the tango and swing dancing - excellent therapeutic activities for Parkinson's - offered through the Hope Parkinson Program.

More than 750 people have been touched by the program - the only Lee County-based Parkinson support program. Many of them have stories like the Bachellers'.

In designating April as Parkinson's Awareness Month, the U.S. Senate recognized that Parkinson's disease is one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases in the country. There is no cure. But there is always hope.

The National Parkinson Foundation projects that one of every 100 Americans age 60 and above will be diagnosed with Parkinson's. According to pharmaceutical companies, Lee County has the highest usage of Parkinson medication in the Southeast.

Movement becomes increasingly challenging as the disease progresses. Exercise and balance classes can help to improve mood, keep muscles strong, and improve flexibility and mobility in order to reduce the risk of falls. As the Bachellers will attest, ongoing education is also essential for those with Parkinson's and their care partners.

The Hope Parkinson Program provides resources and classes at no cost, to meet specific goals:

  • Improve the quality of life for those living with Parkinson's disease and their care partners
  • Slow the progression of Parkinson's disease by engaging the mind, body, and spirit in therapeutic activities
If you or someone you love has Parkinson's, there is hope. To learn more about the Hope Parkinson Program, please call 800-835-1673. Hope can help.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Giving Hope

“Thank you for giving Hope to so many people in our community, for so many years…”

Hope HealthCare Services President and CEO Samira K. Beckwith recently hosted the inaugural President’s Fellowship Luncheon for the Circle of Hope, in honor of the organization’s most ardent, long-time supporters. Guests enjoyed a reception and lunch at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre.

Following lunch, Beckwith gave a brief update of the Hope organization, and the services that now provide care and comfort to more than 2,400 people every day. She told the attendees, “Three decades of care provided by Hope has depended upon the loyal, generous support of special friends like you.”

She thanked everyone for helping Hope in its mission to provide exceptional care and support to every individual and their loved ones as they fulfill life’s journey.

PHOTOS

Joe Gammon; Samira Beckwith; Dave Dale; Gary Trippe

Samira Beckwith; John Sheppard; Carolyn and Norman DeWolfe

Betty Bireley; Michel Doherty

Samira Beckwith addresses the attendees

Friday, January 14, 2011

Hope HealthCare Services Recognized for Environmental Quality


First hospice in Florida to meet highest international standards
Hope HealthCare Services is leading a state and national trend in making facilities more energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

Hope has received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building certification for its Hope HealthCare Services Center, which opened in March in Lehigh Acres. LEED is an internationally recognized certification system that measures how well a building performs in environmentally critical categories:
  • Energy savings
  • Water efficiency
  • CO2 emissions reduction
  • Indoor air quality
  • Good stewardship of resources
The Center is the first LEED certified hospice facility in Florida and one of just four in the entire country. It is the first LEED certified building in Lehigh Acres.

“We have created an environment that adds greatly to the quality of life of those in our care,” according to Hope President and CEO Samira K. Beckwith. “Achieving the LEED standards while providing the best in safety and comfort is a significant milestone in Florida healthcare.”

Additional environmentally friendly, cost-efficient features include:
  • Solar-powered outdoor signage to conserve electricity
  • Outdoor lighting directed to minimize nighttime light pollution
  • Xeriscaping, using native vegetation in landscaping, requiring less maintenance, and no irrigation after the first year.
  • Maximized natural lighting inside the building.
  • Motion-sensitive light switches to save power when a room is not in use.
“We are very pleased that the finished Center accomplishes all of our goals, enabling us to provide the highest levels of care in an eco-friendly setting,” Beckwith said.

The 46,000 square foot Center, built by Kraft Construction, includes 24 individual hospice care suites; a PACE (Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly) facility for daily activities; a café; a chapel available for memorial services, and community meeting facilities.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

News-Press Editorial

'Death panel' demagogues win, you lose

One of the sorriest lies told in the health care reform debate last year was about end-of-life counseling for terminally ill people.

The proposed reform law provided that such counseling, routine and widely advocated by professionals, would now be specifically covered by Medicare, and thus encouraged.

Demagogues invented the phrase “death panels” to describe this counseling, claiming they would pressure elderly patients and other patients to cease medical treatment to save money. This put bill backers on the defensive.

That was despite the insistence of health care professionals that end-of-life counseling was already a routine part of the conversation between doctors and terminally ill patients, covering such issues as treatment options; when a patient wants to end life-saving treatment, if he or she does; how much pain they want to endure; and where a patient prefers to spend the time left.

The provision was removed from the law, one of several compromises deemed necessary to get it passed. Now, a directive in Medicare rules that would have allowed doctors to be reimbursed for this counseling as part of a beneficiary’s yearly exam, has been removed. The counseling can and will continue; it’s hard to imagine doctors and patients dealing with terminal illness otherwise. But the reimbursement is not specific, and this common sense and routine practice will not be explicitly encouraged in the rules.

The reason is political. The Obama administration is trying to blunt efforts from opponents who want to repeal the health care law.

The Democrats will fight to prevent repeal, but they presumably don’t want the “death panel” slander bogging down any discussions that do take place. It’s a shameful abandonment of good policy and good medicine.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Washington Post reports on PACE Programs


Reporting on PACE, the Program for All-Inclusive Care for Elderly, which provides comprehensive medical and social services to frail, low-income seniors with serious health problems. Read the full article

Learn more about Hope PACE

Hope's Adopt A Family Program


Originally published in the North Fort Myers Neighbor, Letters to the Editor

Thanks for the outpouring of generosity
To the Editor:

Each year during the holiday season, Hope Hospice works to ensure that the joys of the season are shared by those in our care through the Adopt-A-Family program.

Thanks to the outpouring of generosity from our community even during these uncertain economic times special gifts were provided to 145 families and 348 individuals in Hope's care.

You shared the holiday spirit in many forms: Warm robes and slippers to comfort the elderly spending the holidays without family; shiny new bikes and other toys that brought joy to children coping with life-limiting illness, and gift cards so families caring for a loved one could enjoy a little respite at a favorite restaurant.

Some of the most touching moments this year came from those who humbly requested the most basic necessities, like groceries for a holiday meal and shoes to replace a worn-out pair items that many of us may take for granted became cherished gifts this holiday season.

Each year during the holiday season, we're honored to have the privilege of helping our families celebrate the holidays through Hope's Adopt-a-Family.

We are deeply grateful to those of you who helped make the 2010 holiday season more special for those in our care. On behalf of everyone at Hope, I wish you all the best in the New Year.

Samira K. Beckwith, President and CEO

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Samira K. Beckwith to serve in national hospice leadership roles


Samira K. Beckwith, president and CEO of Hope HealthCare Services, has been elected to serve as vice chair for the National Hospice Foundation Board of Trustees.

In addition, Beckwith has also been appointed to a second term for the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s Public Policy Committee.

Beckwith joined Hope HealthCare Services as CEO in 1991, when the organization served fewer than 100 patients a day in the immediate Fort Myers area. Under her leadership, Hope Hospice now serves more than 2,200 people each day in Lee, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hendry, Glades, Hardee, Highlands and Polk counties.

NHPCO was founded in 1978 as a charitable organization advocating for the needs of people facing life-limiting illnesses. Today, NHPCO is the world’s largest and most innovative national membership organization devoted exclusively to promoting access to hospice and palliative care and to maintaining quality care for people facing the end of life and support for their families. The NHF works in partnership with NHPCO to raise funds from individuals, foundations and corporations to fund programs that make a difference in the lives of the patients and families served by NHPCO’s membership of more than 3,400 hospice and palliative care providers.

Beckwith has been recognized for professional and personal achievements on the local, state and national levels. She was recently awarded the 2010 Ellis Island Medal of Honor, one of 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.

Her 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.