Hospice programs in central New York remain open, despite local legislators previously indicating staffing-related closures.
In 2022, legislators in Oswego County in New York state voted to shutter its hospice services within the year.
However, The Caring Coalition of Central New York, d.b.a. Hospice of Central New York & Hospice of the Finger Lakes, will remain open, according to an announcement from its philanthropic arm, Friends of Oswego County Hospice, Inc. (FOCH). The hospice provider has offered services for more than 30 years and serves four counties in New York, including Oswego.
“There has been some confusion and an assumption by some that hospice services were no longer available in our county,“ FOCH Executive Director Elena Twiss told local news. “At present, Hospice of Central New York & the Finger Lakes is providing hospice care to patients in Oswego County. In addition, the Friends of Oswego County Hospice continues to operate and support these patients and we are actively engaged with this agency.”
The nonprofit organization FOCH also supports Oswego County Hospice, part of the county’s health department. FOCH funding provides resources, assistance and supplies to patients with terminal illness in the area, along with maintaining hospice volunteer programs such as its children’s grief support program, Camp Rainbow of Hope.
“We are continuing to operate Camp Rainbow of Hope, a summer camp for children who have experienced the loss of a loved one. We are also bringing a greater focus on providing bereavement counseling and resources to those we serve in our county,” Twiss said.
Prolific nursing shortages were among the reasons legislators cited for the hospice’s proposed closure. Like many providers nationwide, the region had been plagued by nurses resignations that led to an insufficient supply of clinicians trained in hospice and palliative care.
The county last year opted not to recruit nurses from other local health care providers for fears of creating similar shortages at other points in the system, according to comments made at a July 2022 public meeting.
“We’ve reached a point with our hospice program that, due to mainly the salary of what we paid our nurses, they have been resigning. In fact, I’ve just become aware today that we lost another LPN in the Health Department to wages,” Legislator James Karasek, chairman of the Health Committee, previously said during the meeting, local news reported. “It’s difficult to compete against what the private industry is doing … We have got to a point where we would no longer be able to take on new patients.”