Supportive Care of Orleans emerges stronger after tough pandemic year
It has been a year of reflection for each of us as individuals as we have negotiated a year impacted by Covid-19. Reflection and discernment have also been required of the many organizations in our Orleans County community that serve our citizens.
In some respects, it has been an exhausting year but we, Supportive Care of Orleans (formerly known as Hospice of Orleans, Inc.), have emerged stronger in many ways. We have developed new tools, relied on our strengths and investigated ways we can improve and increase services to the community. With this in mind, the Supportive Care of Orleans Board of Directors will be sharing regular updates over the next few months to reminisce about our history, honor our present, and celebrate an exciting future.
In 1988, a small group of Orleans County residents, notable among them, Mary Janet Sahukar and Mary Anne Fischer, identified a need in the community to provide support and services to persons diagnosed with a life-limiting illness.
Desiring to provide hope, love and peace to people with terminal illness, People Promoting Hospice was born in 1989. A few years later when the organization became certified by the NYS Department of Health, the name changed to Hospice of Orleans, Inc.
Initially, the many, varied services were primarily provided in the patients’ homes until the Martin-Linsin Residence was opened in December 2012. The Residence, only one of twelve free standing hospice residence facilities in New York State, can be home to eight patients.
This past several years have seen a significant increase in the number of people seeking services from Hospice. With services offered along a continuum of care from the Transitions Program to Supportive Care to Hospice, the Board of Directors made the bold and exciting decision to rebrand Hospice of Orleans to more accurately reflect the wide range of programs offered.
Now known as Supportive Care of Orleans, our goals are to serve a minimum of 16 patients in their homes or other community locations and eight patients in the Martin-Linsin Residence. To ensure the organization provides exceptional care to our patients, we currently employ 40 full-time, part-time, and per diem employees and contracted medical professionals and administrative staff.
As we continue to grow, we have been challenged to recruit registered nurses to provide care to our patients. To help meet this need we have established a relationship with Rochester Regional Health – Lifetime Care Hospice who is currently providing SCO with several outstanding clinical staff.
The Covid pandemic has posed many challenges to SCO and health care providers throughout the country. With a shortage of available clinical staff, SCO has been challenged to fully expand our programs and the number of patients served at the rate we feel would fully benefit the community.
The Board of Directors is looking toward the successes of Rochester Regional Health – Lifetime Care Hospice to potentially expand our relationship with this top-notch organization. We believe that an expanded partnership may assist SCO with fully meeting our goals of increased patient care and additional programs for the Orleans County community. We are exploring the possibility of further leveraging Rochester Regional’s training programs, their expertise in Palliative care, and their network of specialists.
As you may be aware, we are also in the process of hiring a new CEO / Hospice Administrator. The organization will be welcoming Elisa Chambrey to the Supportive Care of Orleans team. She is the current Executive Director for The Highlands at Pittsford. We have been fortunate to have the exceptional leadership of Kellie Spychalski for the past four years.
Kellie, and her husband Ron, are making a move to Arizona to be closer to their youngest son and enjoy the opportunities the warm weather and sunshine offer. The Board of Directors extends our heartfelt gratitude to Kellie for all she has done for the organization and the community. The Board and staff wish Kellie and her family the best of luck as they embark on this new journey.
The Board of Directors would like to publicly thank our staff for shepherding us through this very difficult year. Their dedication, professionalism, and care of our patients is unsurpassed. We intend to keep the community informed of our progress as we invite our more than 150 volunteers back into the organization once our medical director, Dr. Bill Wnuk, feels that it is safe and prudent to do so.
The Board would also like to thank our community partners, volunteers and generous donors for the ongoing support of Supportive Care of Orleans.
For more information about the many services offered by Supportive Care of Orleans, community members, physicians, clergy, and others should contact the office at 585-589-0809 or visit the website at www.supportivecareorleans.org.
Board of Directors – Supportive Care of Orleans