ITHACA, NY -- This month is National Hospice & Palliative Care Month, and we give thanks for our much-loved, much-needed Hospicare, with offices and programming in Tompkins and in Cortland counties. This month, we are thrilled by the news that Joe Mareane is Hospicare’s Interim Executive Director.
Many of us met Joe during his nine-year tenure as our Tompkins County Administrator, chief executive officer of the 700-person, $170 million organization. Others met Joe during his 35 years serving in local government and private industry leadership positions in Syracuse.
During Joe’s short “retirement” after many illustrious years in public service, he has continued his service on the Boards of Challenge Workforce Solution, the Human Services Coalition, and the New York State Indigent Legal Services. Joe and his wife Amy have savored this time off, able now to spend more time with their three grown children.
“I am looking forward to working with an organization I’ve come to greatly admire from the perspective of a community member, board officer, and family member of one whose passing was eased by a remarkable team of Hospicare nurses and staff,” Joe said.
Joe admires the range of services Hospicare offers to everyone, regardless of income — whether they are in their homes, in a nursing facility, a hospital, or in Hospicare’s peaceful, soothing six-bed residence on Ithaca’s South Hill.
And Joe points out that while hospice care is for end-of-life situations, palliative care is available to anyone who is suffering a serious illness; whether they have a finite diagnosis or not.
“When someone from Cortland or Tompkins calls Hospicare, they are connected with a nurse who helps identify medical, personal, or emotional issues that are causing stress or suffering,” Joe said. “Our Palliative Care staff connects patients to appropriate agency and community resources that make all the difference to their quality of life during a difficult time.
“So much care is provided by Hospicare, often in the home. Receiving essential medical care at home is a great comfort to many people. So many people prefer to be at home with family. Through Hospicare this desire can be accommodated.
“My father-in-law lived in our home for the last two years of his life. He was able to spend cherished time with his daughter (my wife) and his grandchildren. I loved my time with him while he lived with us. I saw first-hand the wonderful benefit of Hospicare coming to our home, focusing on my father-in-law’s needs. The nurses listened to his concerns and then addressed them.
“Hospicare is such an asset to the community. We are the kind of place that is open to all, regardless of income. All that I observed and learned inspired me to join the Hospicare Board, and now to help out as director.
“This wonderful Tompkins-Cortland community has been remarkably generous and supportive, so that we can be available to all people, regardless of their income. Women Swimmin’ is an essential annual fundraising event. People sometimes make gifts to us in honor of the passing of loved ones. Or they provide a gift in their will, so that others’ passings can be made more comfortable. We are only a click away online for donations; and we can also assist people with end-of-life planning, which can be very reassuring.
“Our medical staff, our social workers and bereavement counselors, our 400 terrific volunteers (who tend our gardens, prepare food, visit those eager to have company) sustain our loved ones and we, the families, during a very difficult time.
“This month we toast our remarkably devoted staff who wake up every morning, get on the road, and go wherever people need support in their most challenging time of life.”