Hospice is about caring for those who are facing the challenges at the end-of-life. Those challenges may be physical, emotional, psychosocial, and spiritual. Hospice cares for the whole person and their loved ones, supporting them with skilled nursing, family services, spiritual support, volunteer services and bereavement and grief support.
Hospice of the North Country, Inc. is a non-profit, community based agency providing Hospice care to the residents of Clinton and northern Franklin County, New York on a nondiscriminatory basis in compliance with Federal and State regulations. Hospice of the North Country, Inc. was formed as a result of the merger of Hospice Care of Clinton County, Inc. and Caring Friends, Inc.
Hospice of the North Country, Inc. is a member of the National Hospice Organization, International, and the New York State Hospice Association. It is the policy of this agency to encourage its staff and volunteers to join professional organizations that will enhance their performance of service to our patients and their families.
Clinton County is a rural county in northern New York of 1043 square miles with a population of 80,750 with the greatest density found on a north/south axis along the eastern border. Bounded on the north by Canada, the east by Vermont and Lake Champlain, the south by Essex County and the west by Franklin County, Clinton County's western half is in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains, while the eastern half is part of the Champlain Valley.
Hospice of Clinton County, Inc.'s predecessor was the Council of Community Services Hospice Care Coordinator. Formed in 1982 as a result of a Health Needs Survey accomplished by the Council of Community Services, Hospice Care Coordinator focused community attention on the advantages of Hospice care, trained the first Hospice Volunteers in the county and began to see patients in 1984. At that time, Hospice Care was strictly a volunteer organization to do supportive care only. Hospice Care of Clinton County was organized in June of 1986, incorporated in 1987 and became Medicare certified and New York State licensed in August of 1988.
Caring Friends, Inc. has been in operation as a volunteer agency since 1984 when a group of nurses from Alice Hyde Hospital learned of the concept of Hospice care and recognized the need for such services in northern Franklin County. The first training courses for volunteers were held in the fall of 1985. Subsequently, a Board of Directors was established to include representatives of the medical and nursing professions, clergy, business and the community at large. Caring Friends was incorporated in March of 1987. In January of 1988, an Administrative Coordinator was employed part time to recruit and train volunteers, increase public awareness, raise funds and coordinate the clerical services necessary for the operation. In 1989, following an increase in demand for services and the recruiting of additional volunteers, a part time coordinator of volunteers was hired to assess patient needs and implement interdisciplinary care plans. Throughout 1989, informational meetings were held to assess interest in developing local hospice services. In January 1990, the Board of Directors authorized the formation of a committee to investigate the financial feasibility of applying for certification as a Hospice.
Northern Franklin County is an area of roughly 713 square miles with a predominately rural population of 28,600. The service area of Caring Friends is northern Franklin County which is bounded on the north by Canada, the east by St. Lawrence County and the south by the catchment area of High Peaks Hospice. The southern boundary of the service area is the northern border of the towns of Duane and Waverly and follows along the Red Tavern Road to the east. The eastern boundary of the service area is the area served by Hospice Care of Clinton County.
In April 1991, Hospice Care of Clinton County, Inc. submitted an application to the New York State Department of Health to expand the catchment area to cover northern Franklin County and merge with Caring Friends.
Approval was obtained from the New York State Department of Health in October 1991. It was decided to change the legal name of the organization to Hospice of the North Country, Inc. and establish two doing business as Caring Friends of Hospice in Franklin County and Hospice Care of Clinton County. In January 1992, approval was given by the state to change the name of Hospice Care of Clinton County to Hospice of the North Country, Inc. The joint board and various committees will be comprised of individuals from both areas based on the population of each area.
A satellite office with a separate Interdisciplinary Team was established in Malone to manage the care for the patients in that area. This team was established using employees and volunteers of Caring Friends, hiring other employees as needed and contracting with individuals and agencies to provide certified hospice care.
It is the goal of Hospice of the North Country, Inc. to provide the highest level of Hospice care to the residents of Clinton and northern Franklin Counties. The physical, psychosocial and spiritual needs of each patient/family will be addressed to maximize the quality of life and death and to support the bereaved as they continue their lives.
Hospice of the North Country, Inc.'s operational decisions are based on the rural, geographical and social patterns of Clinton and northern Franklin County in compliance with applicable Federal and State laws and prudent professional standards of management. To that end, Hospice of the North Country, Inc. has chosen to structure itself as a community based, volunteer intensive model of Hospice. Fostering the interagency cooperation reflecting community values and prudent professional management, Hospice of the North Country, Inc. contracts providers for general and respite care with existing providers in the county.
Acknowledging the interdisciplinary nature of Hospice care and recognizing the need for continuity of care, many of the ancillary services are provided either by contract or volunteers.