From left, Norma Goff, High Peaks Hospice board of directors, TylaAnn Burger, executive director of High Peaks Hospice, and hosts Bruce and Darcey Hale stand outside the Scragwood house in Willsboro, where an event was held to thank those who have donated to High Peaks Hospice.
High Peaks Hospice held a dinner Aug. 12 to thank some of its donors.
Bruce and Darcey Hale hosted the event, which brought in about 28 donors, at the historic Scragwood house in Willsboro.
As guests enjoyed food, drink and live music, Bruce explained that he and Darcey have known two people who needed hospice care.
“Hospice is a great cause, and we wanted to support it,” Bruce said.
High Peaks Hospice Executive Director TylaAnn Burger said donations have allowed the 26-year-old, non-profit organization to continue serving the community.
“This event is just an opportunity to thank some of our supporters and to meet some of our newest supporters,” Burger said.
The hospice staff specializes in helping people make informed decisions on how they would like to spend their final days.
“We try and help with the big questions,” Burger said. “For some, it’s a fight until the end. Others want to be home with family and friends.”
Sometimes, that decision comes with a trade-off.
A fight until the end can mean more hospital time and a longer life, while staying at home might mean that treatment is less available, but that the person is more comfortable.
Burger doesn’t endorse either option, but she does endorse the benefits of hospice care.
“If we get somebody into hospice care early, the quality of life we’re able to provide might help extend that life,” Burger said. “When you never stress; when you stop worrying about that next test and replace that worry with family time, people live longer and better.”
Burger, a certified hospice and palliative care administrator, has been helping people for 30 years.
She spent her first 10 years as a nurse working in an emergency room at a large hospital in the Bronx.
When someone suggested that hospice care was a better field for her, she looked into it and began working in hospice one year later.
Now, Burger said, she loves her job, and wants to see hospice care in the North Country to continue to improve.
“Our median stay is 27 days, but hospice wants to work four to six weeks,” Burger said, “That’s when we can make a huge impact.”
Currently, High Peaks Hospice is able to provide care for patients wherever they are, be it at home, in a nursing home or at a hospital, but the board of directors would like to someday offer short-term inpatient care.
Burger stressed that the care her staff provides is constantly evolving, thanks in part to the people they serve.
“It’s a privilege,” Burger said. “These families are able to bring their resources together to teach us and give us a wealth of knowledge.”
On Sept 20, Dr. Alan Wolfelt, director of the Center of Grief and Loss in Boulder, Co., is doing a workshop at the Will Rogers Institute in Saranac Lake for families who have experienced a profound loss, whether it be the death of a loved one, divorce, accident, natural disaster or other trauma. The event will run from 7:30-9:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public, but space is limited. Anyone interested should pre-register by Sept. 7.
On Sept. 21, Dr. Wolfelt will hold a full-day workshop from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Paul Smith’s VIC for members of the professional care giving community. The event is $65 per person and includes the workshop, lunch and certified education units. Preregistration for the workshop is required by August 20th.
To register for either workshop, or for more information, call 891-9631.
For more information on High Peaks Hospice, visit highpeakshospice.com.