Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Kevin Nealon to compete on Celebrity Family Feud for Hope Hospice

Kevin Nealon, Dr. Sally Yeagley, Susan Yeagley, Chris Nealon, and Cheryl Hines
Beloved comedian and Saturday Night Live alumni Kevin Nealon has named Hope Hospice his charity of choice as leader of “Team Kevin Nealon,” competing on Celebrity Family Feud on Sunday, June 7 at 8 p.m. on ABC-7.

Nealon’s team – including his wife, actress Susan Yeagley; his brother, Chris Nealon; his mother-in-law, Dr. Sally Yeagley; and actress Cheryl Hines – will compete against The Price is Right host Drew Carey and his team in the second game of the episode. After the airing, episodes are available for on-demand viewing on Hulu.

“My first experience with Hope Hospice was when they cared for my grandmother about 20 years ago. Since then, they’ve shown compassion and comfort to both my parents as well,” said Nealon. “I’m honored for this opportunity to support Hope in its mission to help others in Southwest Florida in the same kind and caring way they helped my family.”

Nealon stars in CBS’s “Man with a Plan” and starred in “Weeds” on Showtime. He has appeared in several movies, including “Happy Gilmore” and “The Wedding Singer.” He also hosts the popular YouTube series “Hiking with Kevin.”

“Kevin has been a longtime friend of Hope Hospice, and we are truly grateful for his generosity in sharing his time and talent to help Hope improve the quality of life for those experiencing serious illness and their families,” said Samira K. Beckwith, president and CEO of Hope Healthcare.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto Named Executive Vice President of Hope Healthcare

Samira K. Beckwith, president and CEO of Hope Healthcare, announced that Florida State Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto has been named executive vice president of the not-for-profit organization.

With a distinguished career in public service that spans two decades, Benacquisto was first elected to the Florida Senate to represent Southwest Florida in 2010 and was subsequently reelected in 2012, 2014 and 2016. She served as the Majority Leader from 2012 to 2014 and the Deputy Majority Leader from 2011 to 2012. Previously, she served as Councilwoman for the Village of Wellington, Florida, from 2002 to 2010.

Benacquisto has been involved with Hope for several years, serving as co-chair of the annual Yachts of Hope and Shine events that benefit Hope Hospice. She has been recognized with numerous honors and awards and served in volunteer positions with a broad variety of political, civic and human service organizations.


“Lizbeth’s knowledge and skills will be an incredible asset to Hope,” said Beckwith. “She brings a unique understanding about  healthcare and services that matter most to Southwest Floridians. The board and I are confident Lizbeth will help support Hope’s mission of improving the quality of life for those experiencing serious illness and frailty.”

Journaling through the Grief Journey: An 8 Week Series for Teens Ages 15-18

If you’re a high school student who is struggling with grief after the loss of a loved one, our group will help you connect with peers, find a creative outlet for self-expression, and explore coping skills.

You will need WiFi and a quiet setting to join the group meetings on Zoom, led by Hope Bereavement Counselor Jessica Eastham and Art Therapist Danielle Brant. No prior experience in writing or art is required. After registration, we’ll discuss a simple list of supplies that may be helpful during your journaling process.

The group is limited to the first 12 participants to register, and parent/guardian permission is required for those under the age of 18.

Every Wednesday from 3:00 - 4:30 PM 
8 Week Series from June 17 through August 5 

To join, contact Jessica Eastham at 239.415.7219 or Jessica.Eastham@HopeHCS.org.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Five Tips to Cope with Mother's Day after Loss

For some people, Mother’s Day isn’t a day-long celebration with brunch, presents, cards, and flowers. Instead, it can be a difficult reminder of the very special mom who they loved and lost. Here are some simple ideas for coping with this holiday when your mother is no longer with you.

Take a Walk Down Memory Lane

Open your dusty photo albums, and relive happy memories from the past. If you feel like sharing, snap a picture of an old photo to share with close friends or on social media.

Write a Thoughtful Note
What would you say to your mother if she were still here? Put your thoughts in writing on pretty notepaper or in a special notebook.

Make a Memorial Gift
Many not-for-profits like Hope allow donations to be made in memory of a loved one. Not only will you make a special tribute to your mother’s memory, but you’ll also be supporting others during this difficult time.

Light a Candle
If a financial gift is uncomfortable right now, consider lighting a candle in your mother’s memory. Can you send positive thoughts or say a prayer in support of her favorite charitable mission?

Ask for Help
If you think you would benefit from talking to a professional bereavement counselor at Hope, call 239.482.4673. Remember, we're always here to help.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Hope Hospice Volunteers Spread Cheer with Pet Parade

Pet Parade

More than a dozen Hope Hospice volunteers – and their dogs – spread cheer to Hope’s patients, family and staff during a festive Pet Parade around the grounds of Hope’s Fort Myers Care Center.

Hope President and CEO Samira Beckwith thanked the volunteers for what they do every day at Hope, and explained why events like this are especially important for those in Hope’s care.

“People in our care and their families really need the opportunity to smile and to laugh,” said Beckwith. “Watching the parade of dedicated Hope volunteers with their uplifting signs and adorable pets provided some much-needed joy.”

Lehigh resident Geri English, who has volunteered with Hope for nearly four years, said she takes her rescue pug Lilly with her on visits to Hope’s Lehigh Care Center and on weekend home visits. A Navy veteran, she also helps with Hope’s VALOR program.

“Hope volunteers can use their strengths to help out in different ways. It’s a great way to do something special for others,” said English.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Start the Conversation: April 16 is National Health Care Decisions Day

As our community rises to meet the challenge of the coronavirus pandemic, people are likely spending more time than ever communicating with their families, whether they’re sheltering in place together or calling loved ones regularly to check in. This unprecedented time and focus on health care provide opportunities to make connections and start conversations – including a discussion about your health care plans should you become unable to make your own decisions.

Hope Healthcare has been the local resource in facilitating the advance planning discussion in our community by providing resources and education events. On April 16, Hope recognizes National Healthcare Decisions Day: a nationwide initiative that encourages adults of all ages to consider the care they may want or may not want, discuss it with family members, document the plan in writing, and choose a health care surrogate.

Sadly, the consequences of delaying the discussion and not communicating your thoughts, concerns, and desires can affect loved ones in unintended ways. Heartbroken families can fall apart, wracked with confusion and guilt. Sometimes, the emotional intensity of this situation can overtake a lifetime of great memories.

Creating a plan gives loved ones a map to follow, confident in knowing your intentions. At Hope, we recommend reviewing Five Wishes – an easy-to-use guide that provides direction and guidance to discuss your personal, emotional and spiritual preferences. The form legally documents desires for future medical care and provides information for family and physicians, such as: Who should make care decisions on your behalf if you’re unable? What kind of medical treatment options are acceptable or desired?

It is also an opportunity to share other important details. Do you want to be surrounded by family and friends, or do you want only your closest loved ones nearby? Which are your favorite hymns and flowers? Do you want friends to honor your passing by contributing to your favorite charity in your name?

As a community service, Hope Healthcare is offering complimentary copies of Five Wishes, which is considered a legal document in Florida as well as 41 other states. To request a complimentary copy by mail, call Hope at 239-482-4673 or visit www.fivewishes.org/redeem and enter promo code APRIL2020. There, you can either print a Five Wishes document to complete by hand - or enter your information on-screen and print a completed document to sign. You can return to your Five Wishes online to edit and reprint it for a full year.

Let someone you trust know you’ve completed Five Wishes and where it will be kept, and consider sharing it with your clergy, doctor, attorney, and other trusted advisors and care providers.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Sewing Masks and Isolation Gowns: More Ways to Help

We are so grateful to our wonderful volunteers and supporters who have been tirelessly creating fabric masks. We're now also requesting isolation gowns. If you don’t sew, but would still like to support Hope’s efforts, you can also help by donating fabric, flat elastic, cutting materials, or delivering/picking up items for sewers who can't leave home. For more, please see https://hopehcs.org/covid19/

Thanks To:

Bayside Sewing Guild
Joann Fabrics
North Star Yacht Club
The Little Family
Anonymous
Tracy Alford
Kay Austiff
Darlene Bell
Donna Boxhill
Emily Brigalli
Mary Ellen Burnup
Susan Cameron
Barbara Camp
Samantha Castle
Cathy Castner
Joyce Clark and Granddaughter
Barbara Cleaver
Kathryn Compton
Phyllis Contino
Dayna Sylvester
Ursula Deetscreek
Sandy d'Eustachio
Evelyn Gagnon
Ellen Gillis
Georgia Goyette
Julie Ann Gray
Arline Hansen
Kim Hansen
Katherine Jesionowski
Colette Johns
Stanhope Kathleen
Ann Koppe
Carol Krohse
Sophia Kuharich
Jacine Lester
Veena Maheshwari
Beverly Miles
Ann Olson
Jill Pellis
Bobbi Phillips
Christine Sharpe
Janice Smith
Lainee Specter
Vicki Spencer
Karen Springer
Fran Stevens
Bob Stream
Gladys Vanderbeck
Joan Warren
Denise

Hope Parkinson Program Offers New Teleconference Support Groups

Continuing the Connection During Parkinson’s Awareness Month

Each April, the Hope Parkinson Program commemorates Parkinson’s Awareness Month as a highlight of its robust, year-round schedule that provides education, socialization, and support to more than 2,000 active participants.

While regularly scheduled events are postponed, the program is continuing the connection and inspiring participants through regular emails, social media updates, and new teleconference support groups.

“Since its inception in 2009, a goal of our Parkinson Program has been to use the power of community to bring people together to share their experiences,” said Samira K. Beckwith, president and CEO of Hope Healthcare. “Although they are not able to gather in person, Hope Parkinson Program participants can still benefit from the connections and support of our caring PD community.”

Throughout April, Hope Parkinson Program teleconference support groups will also help connect members to resources to help manage COVID-19 anxiety.

To participate, members must RSVP 24 hours prior to the teleconference by contacting Hope Parkinson Program Manager Michelle Martin at 239-985-7727.
  • Monday, April 6 at 1:30 p.m.
    Open support group for those diagnosed with Parkinson’s and care partners
     
  • Thursday, April 9 at 11 a.m.
    PD Care Partner support group
     
  • Friday, April 24 at 1 p.m.
    Monthly Ladies with PD group
     
  • Thursday, April 30 at 2 p.m.
    Open support group for those diagnosed with Parkinson’s and care partners

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Please Help: Fabric Masks Needed

Even if you don't sew, will you help us by sharing this information with anyone you know who does sew?

We are asking volunteers to create homemade face masks. Hope has already distributed over 700 of these masks, and more are needed. Even if you don't have elastic, you can still create a mask with fabric ties. Guidelines:
  • Good coverage is important: masks should reach above the bridge of the nose and below the chin. 
  • Fit is important: masks should be snug.
  • Many online tutorials and patterns exist, an example is available at
    https://www.deaconess.com/How-to-make-a-Face-Mask
Place all completed fabric face masks in a sealed plastic bag, and label the bag with the following information:
  • Your full name, mailing address, and phone number
  • Number of face masks included in bag 
  • ATTN: Hope Volunteer Department
Masks can be dropped off to any Hope Care Center or the North Fort Myers Community Center:
  • 27200 Imperial Parkway, Bonita Springs, FL 34135 (map)
  • 9470 HealthPark Circle, Fort Myers, FL 33908 (map)
  • 2430 Diplomat Pkwy. E, Cape Coral, FL 33909 (map
  • 1201 Wings Way, Lehigh Acres, FL 33936 (map
  • 13821 N Cleveland Avenue, N Fort Myers, FL 33903 (map)
All visitor/guest restrictions apply; see HopeHCS.org/covid19 for details on our entry policies. For questions, please contact Colette Johns at (239) 985-7728.

THANK YOU to everyone who has already donated to this special effort. We are incredibly grateful for your help!

Friday, March 27, 2020

Our Charitable Mission Continues during Coronavirus

A Note from Our President and CEO
During these unprecedented times, Hope's mission is abundantly clear. We're working diligently to ensure the health and safety of the people in our care as well as our dedicated staff and volunteers. As a not-for-profit organization, we must rely on your generosity as we prepare for the many challenges ahead. While our fundraising events are suspended and our resale stores are closed, we sincerely hope you will make a donation to help those who are touched by serious illness here in southwest Florida. Thank you for being our partner in caring for the most vulnerable members of our community! ~Samira K. Beckwith

Donate Medical Supplies
Hope is accepting donations of gloves, masks, and personal protective equipment (PPE) gear - especially N95 masks. Anyone who has items available and is willing to donate, please contact Sabrina Bennett at 239-322-5364 for delivery or pick-up options.

Volunteers to Sew Masks 
Local sewers and sewing groups have already begun creating fabric face masks for Hope staff. Over 200 have already been delivered. Can you join them? A short description, video tutorial link, and delivery instructions are available at the bottom of our COVID-19 update page.

Friday, March 20, 2020

National Hotline to Not-for-Profit Hospice and Palliative Care Providers

The 70 nonprofit hospice providers that comprise the National Partnership for Hospice Innovation (NHPI) have set up a hotline for patients, caregivers, and families who need home- or community-based end-of-life or palliative care.

The number for the new hotline is:
(844)-GET-NHPI
(844) 438-6744


“Making the decision to receive hospice, advanced illness, or palliative care can be stressful under the best of circumstances, let alone when patients and families are unsure of their options and the quality and safety of the care provided,” said Tom Koutsoumpas, president and CEO of NPHI. “This new toll-free number makes a formerly complicated process simple by providing access to all 70 providers, allowing families to find the care they need, even when they and their loved ones are in different parts of the country.”

"When families consider their care options for a loved one dealing with an advanced illness, our hope is that they choose a not-for-profit palliative care and hospice provider. It can make a huge difference in their loved one’s quality of life in their final months, weeks and days,” said Robert Cahill, president and CEO of NorthStar Care Community, which is providing the infrastructure for the toll-free number.

Important Note: the hotline number above is intended for patients and families living outside of southwest Florida. If you or your loved one reside in Lee, Hendry, or Glades counties and need hospice or palliative care, please call Hope directly at:
(239) 482-4673
(800) 835-1673

Monday, March 16, 2020

Dealing with Stress and Anxiety during COVID-19

Hope is implementing multiple safeguards and protocols recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and the Florida Department of Health. Please be assured we are doing everything possible to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Absorb COVID-19 News at a Reasonable Pace
While it’s important to stay informed by keeping up with reliable news sources, constant exposure to scary headlines can be counterproductive. If you find yourself spending hours online looking up COVID-19 news, consider if this is causing you unnecessary anxiety or panic.

Monitor Advisories from Reliable News Sources
Don’t believe everything you might read on social media. Misleading information can be scary – and also dangerous. The Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and the Florida Department of Health are good websites to check for the latest information.

Focus on Actionable Tasks
Channel your energy into productive outlets – be vigilant about handwashing, practice social distancing, and be ready to stay at home for an extended time if you are sick or quarantined. Consider checking in with friends and family by phone, email, or video chat to maintain social bonds, even when you can’t meet in person.

Accept Uncertainty
None of us can predict the future. Even in the best times, accidents, illnesses, and unexpected events may disrupt the pattern of our lives. Rather than focusing on worst-case scenarios, get plenty of rest, exercise if possible, and connect with loved ones. Remember that each day is a gift.

Hope’s Infection Control Policies and Procedures
Hope always maintains the strictest standards of hygiene and cleanliness – at our Hope Care Centers and also for everyone we care for in their own homes. All Hope locations are now following the latest guidelines for allowing visitors. Staff providing care outside of our facilities are also carefully monitoring for any potential exposures to COVID-19.

Furthermore, 100% of Hope’s staff and volunteers must pass annual examinations regarding the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), infectious diseases, and legal requirements. Staff who provide direct care complete additional requirements and attend skills fairs to demonstrate their knowledge of proper techniques.

We’re Here to Help
If you are a patient, participant, loved one, or family member in Hope's care, please ask a staff member if you have questions about our infection control practices or if you need additional help for coping with stress and anxiety.

Monday, February 10, 2020

2020 Date Announced for Shine, a Benefit for Hope Hospice

The second annual Shine benefit for Hope Hospice will take place Friday, October 16, 2020 at the historic Edison and Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers. State Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto and attorney Jenna Persons will return to serve as co-chairs for the elegant event featuring riverside cocktails, dining, entertainment, and a live auction.

More than 250 guests attended the inaugural event in October 2019, which raised $440,000 to benefit the Hope Kids Care program. This year’s fundraiser will support Hope’s mission to provide comforting care and support to everyone living with serious illness.

“For forty years, Hope has been a safety net for our community, serving those who are newly born, seniors who have reached 113 years old and everyone in between,” said Samira K. Beckwith, President and CEO of Hope Healthcare. “The generosity showed at events like Shine ensures that there will always be Hope for those who need us.”

To learn about sponsorship opportunities or to request an invitation to the event, call 239-985-7758 or write to email@hopehcs.org.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Hope Achieves Highest Partnership Level of We Honor Veterans Program

Hope Healthcare has become a certified Level 5 partner – the highest designation available – with We Honor Veterans, a program of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

Through Hope’s VALOR program, Hope’s Honor Guard volunteers, many who are veterans themselves, stand ready to support veterans in hospice care. Through a veteran recognition program and salute ceremonies, Hope recognizes their dedicated service to our country.

“Hope provides care to the brave men and women who served to safeguard our freedom,” said Samira K. Beckwith, President and CEO of Hope Healthcare. “Achieving Level 5 partnership status with the NHPCO’s We Honor Veterans program confirms our dedication to ensuring all veterans receive the specialized care they deserve.”

According to NHPCO, more than 1,800 American veterans die every day, and only 4 percent die in the care of the Veteran’s Administration. Hope serves as a critical resource by providing special services as part of its mission to serve as a safety net for our community.

Level 5 partners place a greater emphasis on staff education and caring for Vietnam-era and combat veterans, as well as taking on the role of regional mentor to other We Honor Veterans partners working to enhance their programs.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Friends of Hope’s Annual Luncheon and Fashion Show to Benefit Hope Hospice


The annual Friends of Hope Spring Luncheon is planned for Monday, March 16 at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa. The event will feature a fun day of boutique shopping, raffle prizes, and a fashion show presented by Kathryn’s Collection to benefit Hope Hospice and Rainbow Trails Camp.

Shopping begins at 10:30 a.m. with a collection of silk scarves, leather handbags, fine jewelry, pottery, glasswork, and accessories.

Special Girlfriends Tables are available for 10 guests and include two bottles of wine, signage, and recognition for $1,350. Individual tickets for the event are $100 each.

To purchase tickets, Girlfriends Tables, or to make a donation in support of the event, visit Donate.HopeHCS.org/Lunch2020.

The 2020 Friends of Hope Spring Luncheon is planned by Chair Etta Smith and Co-chair Heather Clegg, with committee members Billie Jans, Ellen LaFazia, Claire McMahon, Nancy Near, Jean Paradis, Reggie Polsenberg, Donna Roberts, Patt Suwyn, Adele Waddell, Sylvia Weiss, Carol Wood, and Signe Wynne.

See photos from last year's event!

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Volunteers Needed: Annual Rainbow Trails Camp

Hope is seeking volunteers for their annual Rainbow Trails camp designed for children ages six through 17 who have experienced the loss of a loved one during the past year.

 Scheduled for Friday, April 3 through Sunday, April 5 at the Riverside Retreat in LaBelle, Rainbow Trails Camp is led by experienced Hope counselors, art and music therapists and is supported by community volunteers. Adults age 18 and over are invited to apply to volunteer in a number of roles, including chaperones, pre- and post-camp registration and reception, first-aid nurses, kitchen staff, buddies, room monitors, and safety and security. Some roles require two overnight stays at the LaBelle campsite; others do not.

All camp volunteers must attend an orientation session prior to camp. The application deadline is Friday, February 21. Visit https://donate.hopehcs.org/rtcvol to apply online.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Hope Parkinson Program Celebrates 10th Anniversary in 2020


In 2020, Hope Parkinson Program celebrates ten years of support provided to nearly 4,000 engaged members of our local Parkinson’s community.

Throughout the past decade, Hope has built a robust Parkinson Program offering conferences and symposia with renowned Parkinson’s experts and motivational speakers, educational events with community partners, professionally-led support groups and workshops, movement classes - from tai chi and dancing to water aerobics, and friendship-fostering events like the annual sunset cruise and holiday ice cream social. The program also offers a Young Onset Parkinson’s Dinner to connect those seeking support after an early Parkinson’s diagnosis.

The Hope Parkinson Program recently launched a new mobile-friendly website that makes it easy to sign up for events like the annual Symposium. The program’s quarterly newsletter provides its growing membership with information, resources, and inspiration.

“The Hope Parkinson program educates and empowers our members – many of whom are care partners – and provides opportunities to connect with one another,” said Samira K. Beckwith, President and CEO of Hope Healthcare. “Our participants share their successes and learn from each other’s experiences. Within our caring community, our goal is to make the road less lonely. As we navigate the Parkinson’s journey together, our members find comfort in knowing they are not alone.”

Miriam Dieppa, a Hope Parkinson Program member since 2015, shared, “Hope has improved my quality of life and helped me meet other great people in my community with Parkinson’s.”

Monday, January 6, 2020

Hope Parkinson Program’s Annual Symposium: Education, Empowerment & Energy

Health care professionals, therapists, volunteers, care partners and those living with Parkinson’s disease are invited to a morning of education, empowerment, and energy at the annual Hope Parkinson Symposium on Friday, Feb. 7 at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre at Royal Palm Square in Fort Myers.

Seating is limited, and pre-registration is required. Registration fees of $20 per person includes beverages, a deluxe lunch buffet, and dessert.

Dr. Julie Schwartzbard
An optional pre-event lecture at 10 a.m. by movement disorder specialist Dr. Julie Schwartzbard will present “Recognizing Off Periods in Parkinson’s and the Role of a Unique Treatment Option.”

Leslie Gibson-Weiland, RN
The Symposium begins at 11 a.m. with award-winning speaker and humor therapist Leslie Gibson-Weiland, RN discussing “The Positive Power of Humor, Hope, and Healing.”

Nikolaus McFarland, MD, PhD
The featured speaker is Nikolaus McFarland, M.D., Ph.D., a movement specialist at University of Florida Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration Chief, Movement Disorder Division, Associate Professor of Neurology. Dr. McFarland will present “What’s New in Medical Care, Research and Treatments for PD.”

Pete and Kelly Gaylord
The event concludes with “Care Partner Communication Tips and Tricks” with Pete and Kelly Gaylord.

Symposium exhibitors include FYZICAL Therapy and Balance Centers, Hope Healthcare, Lee Health Rehabilitation Services, and US WorldMeds. The pre-symposium lecture Presenting Sponsor is ACORDA Therapeutics. Supporting sponsors include Abbott, ACADIA Pharmaceuticals, Boston Scientific, and Personal Training by Jeri Ann.