Hospice of Cullman County Celebrates 30 Years of Serving Patients
It’s hard to believe, it all began with a group of concerned Cullman area citizens, both professional and lay persons, who met at the Cullman Civic Center for 12 months to discuss the needs of caring for the terminally ill in the community. Today, more than 4,000 patients have been served by Hospice of Cullman County.
In the early days of 1985, the group met with multiple hospice organizations who educated the group on how to develop a hospice organization and so what started as a group of concerned citizens, ultimately comprised the first board of directors for Hospice of Cullman County. In 1986, Hospice of Cullman County began delivering care to the terminally ill of Cullman County. Dr. George Lyrene was the first medical director; Paulette Gentry filled the role of social worker and 24-hour on-call nursing services were provided with the assistance of seven volunteer registered nurses.
Although Hospice of Cullman County initially started as a stand-alone entity, the organization became a part of Cullman Regional in 1998 and merged with the Cullman Regional Home Care team and moved to Professional Office Building 1 on the Cullman Regional Campus in 2008.
Since that time, Hospice of Cullman County has grown to a staff of 8 RNs, 1 Social Worker/Volunteer Coordinator, 1 Hospice Chaplain and Bereavement Coordinator, 19 Volunteers, 6 Support Staff.
The Hospice of Cullman County, Inc. Board includes Nell Dunlap, Mike Manning, Bill Oliver, Clara Kent, Blanche Kent, Lori Tafazoli, Frances Cooper, Peggy Doss, Emily Johnston, Martha Hart, Randy Weathersly, Greg Picogna, Wendell Copeland and Amy Walker. The Board now hosts three annual fundraisers:
- Annual MEGA Cash Draw Down: hosted each year in July, the organization’s largest fundraiser raises approximately $30K annually
- $5 Jewelry Sales: two sales per year in partnership with Masquerade Fundraising which raises approximately $12K annually
As Cullman County’s ONLY non-profit Hospice, the proceeds raised during these annual events are used to provide indigent care to patients who would otherwise not receive care. In 30 years of caring, approximately 10 percent of Hospice of Cullman County patients have received free care through funds raised by the Hospice Board. In addition, Hospice has been able to provide assistance with utility bills, housing costs, food and other needs of the patients and their family while in hospice care.
Hospice now not only offers hospice care, but also offers grief and bereavement support for patients’ families after they lose a loved one.
“The Hospice Staff was extremely helpful and supportive. We could not have asked for anymore. They were always willing to help in any manner and at anytime day or night. We very much appreciate all of their help,” comments a patient family member.
“Our staff received thank you notes and comments like this regularly,” Marsha Boswell Hospice Director stated. “Hospice care is truly a calling, and our staff does an amazing job each and every day.”
After 30 years, Hospice of Cullman County has decided to open a new chapter on their story by becoming Cullman Regional Hospice.
“The change is to showcase the seamless care we can offer patients,” said Hospice & Home Care Director Marsha Boswell. “Whether it’s transition from the hospital to hospice or from home care to hospice, we can provide seamless care transition based on each patient’s specific needs. Hospice of Cullman County, Inc. Board will continue to serve as the fundraising arm for Cullman Regional Hospice and continue to provide funds so that we can continue caring for all patients, regardless of their ability to pay or not.”
For more information on Cullman Regional Hospice services, volunteer opportunities or Hospice of Cullman County, Inc. fundraising events, call (256) 739-5185 or visit online at www.cullmanregional.com/hospice.
Cullman Regional Hospice/Hospice of Cullman County by the Numbers:
- 4,100 Patients over 30 years
- United Way agency for more than 20 years
- 10% of patients treated without the ability to pay for care otherwise – more than $1.4 million in free end-of-life care to Cullman area community members
- More than 1,500 grief support group meetings offered to the community for patient and non-patient grief related needs
- Hosted more than 80 memorial events
- More than 15 years of Camp Hope for Kids, a grief support program for children suffering the death of a loved one.
- Old Hospice of Cullman County House: The original home of Hospice of Cullman County still located next to the old Cullman Hospital, now the Folsom Center on 4th Avenue in Downtown Cullman.
- Hospice & Home Care Team: The Cullman Regional Hospice Team recently celebrated National Home Care & Hospice Month which recognizes the compassionate care team which provides excellent in home and end-of-life care.