Area Family’s Touching Stories Become Focus of Hospice Initiative
Hospice of Orange & Sullivan Counties has launched an outreach initiative that aims to highlight hospice care’s benefits to family life. The campaign, titled “When Memories Matter,” educates the community on the many ways Hospice allows patients and their families to spend quality time together, making memories that are cherished by relatives even after a loved one’s passing. Central to the campaign is a video detailing the Hospice memories of one local family, in particular.
In the video, Sharen Steeves-Casazza sits on a plush green couch in the common area of Hospice of Orange & Sullivan Counties’ Kaplan Family Hospice Residence in Newburgh. Misty-eyed at times, she recounts the Steeves family’s decision to seek hospice care, first for her father and then, a year later, for her mother. Common to both experiences was meaningful time spent by the family with each parent.
“We had our 1:00 lunches here every Friday, with both my mom and my dad,” Sharen says, referring to a long-standing family tradition that was able to continue during her father’s time at the Kaplan residence. “His last few days were eating chocolate ice cream, his absolute favorite in the world.”
In describing the hospice care her mother received, Sharen explains that the family first elected for in-home hospice care before utilizing the Kaplan Residence, when 24-hour care became necessary.
“We’d sit in the fresh air, and she’d see the planes go over and see the birds. And the family room where the great grandchildren would play – it was an opportunity for all the ages in the family to take part in the final days.” She continues, “I would like more and more people to know what the Hospice experience can be.”
The physical and emotional care described by Sharen is not unique to the Steeves family, however. Janice Valentino, Hospice of Orange & Sullivan Counties’ marketing director, hears similar stories each day she comes to work. It’s her job to make sure the stories are told.
“Hospice isn’t about dying; it’s a plan for living. Death is a part of life,” she says. “People mistakenly believe Hospice helps patients die, while the reality is that we give patients and their families opportunities to make the most of the end of life. The families are an equally important part of our mission.” She concludes, “Working on a campaign that demonstrates this has been rewarding.”
Sharen Steeves-Casazza says it best: “With Hospice, you’re living your final days.” Click here to watch the full video.
Hospice of Orange & Sullivan Counties, Inc. was incorporated in 1988 as an outgrowth of an initial effort in 1981 by three community nurses to provide much-needed support to individuals with terminal illnesses. In 1993, what was then Hospice of Orange in the Hudson Valley began serving patients in Sullivan County, subsequently becoming Hospice of Orange & Sullivan Counties, Inc. The organization is certified by the NYS Department of Health and The Joint Commission.