Oregon’s First Hospice Service
Written by Bronte Dod
“We’re trying to make the community aware of all the things Partners in Care can do and to get rid of the mystique of dying.”
From Madras to Christmas Valley, Partners in Care provides hospice care to people all over the region. With 60 percent of the tri-county area’s population over 65 years old—that’s more than 45 percent higher than the national average, according to the last U.S. census—the organization has its fill of requests for care.
“We’ve emerged into a regional leader because we’re the oldest and probably the most experienced, and we have welcomed that,” said President and CEO Eric Alexander.
The hospice service began in 1979 when a group of nurses started volunteering their time and services to provide end-of-life care. It was the first organization of its kind in the state.
Today, the nonprofit provides in-home hospice and palliative care to about 100 people a day. The main campus at Partners in Care includes a specialty hospital with six
suites for patients who need care that can’t be provided at home.
“It’s a real active form of compassion,” said Marlene Carlson, the director of development. “When you come onto our service, you have a whole team available to you.” This patient-centered care practice aims to provide an authentic sense of presence for patients and their families.
Partners in Care’s mission extends to more than just end of life care. It also encompasses a community education component that includes a camp for children who have experienced loss.
“Our vision is to make sure that people are aware of end of life issues,” said Alexander. “Aware of the issues of aging as people grow older and approach the end of their lives and really be mindful and how to plan for those things instead of it being a sudden shock.”
LINDA COHEN VOLUNTEER
Linda Cohen, often along with her service dog, Zultan, has been a volunteer with Partners in Care for nine years. She visits patients and their families, giving companionship and comfort to them while they work with Partners in Care. Cohen is also on the board of Friends of Hospice, an education and awareness organization under Partners in Care. “We’re trying to make the community aware of all the things Partners in Care can do and to get rid of the mystique of dying,” she said.
ABOUT PARTNERS IN CARE:
Partners in Care is a nonprofit organization that provides hospice care and services to Central Oregon. Learn more at partnersbend.org
BY THE NUMBERS:
Operates three branches in Bend, Redmond and La Pine
Provides a specialty hospital in Bend with six suites
One of four hospice houses of its kind in Oregon
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
Individuals and businesses can donate money that supports the care and services. Volunteer opportunities range from spending time with patients to educating the community on hospice care.