Friends of Hospice 1

Talk. Plan. Learn. Live!

In 1979, Friends of Hospice formed in Central Oregon as an all-volunteer patient care organization. It was the first hospice in Oregon to begin seeing patients. Over the past 37 years, it evolved into what is now Partners In Care.

This year, Friends of Hospice is being re-created—this time as a membership-based supporting organization of Partners In Care, the largest hospice provider in Central Oregon. Its central mission is to help people understand the complexities of dying, death, and grief within the scope of hospice and palliative care. Their goal is to bring people together around a wide variety of topics from improving the quality of life at any age to the more weighty matters of death and dying.

“As difficult as it is to talk about these things at a tender time, it seems that we are discussing end-of-life issues more openly these days,” said Board Chair Linda K. Stelle. “Everywhere we look, we see people striving to make death more palatable, more expressive, and more meaningful. In fact, some believe we are experiencing an important cultural change with respect of our view of death and dying.”

Hospice care is playing an important role in this movement. Because hospice care is relatively new in the United States, the Baby Boomer generation (currently ranging in age from 52 to 70 years old) is the first generation who has witnessed the benefits of hospice care for their parents. They desire a high quality of life at home with pain and symptoms well-controlled. They want to know what their choices are throughout the entire health care continuum, including the final phase of life. So it is no surprise that Baby Boomers are leading the way in welcoming conversation on all aspects of end-of-life matters.

Stelle leads a board of nine directors representing a variety of ages, viewpoints, and backgrounds. According to her, the one thing that the board and Friends of Hospice members believe in is the value of hospice care at the end of life and an interest in learning and planning for that time. To that end, the organization chose four words to communicate their purpose: Talk, Plan, Learn, and Live.

The modest annual membership subscription of $25 per household gives members access to a variety of free social and educational opportunities, as well as many discounts from local businesses that also believe in the hospice philosophy.

All proceeds from memberships and other fundraising activities benefit Hospice House, Central Oregon’s only specialty hospital for hospice enrollees. Funds will be used to provide services not covered by insurance and to maintain the building and beautiful gardens.