What is a home for the dying (also known as a comfort care home)?

A Home for the Dying is a home-like residence for individuals enrolled in hospice services who have a prognosis of three months or less to live. 24-hour homecare is provided by a small professional staff and a community of trained volunteers. Typically, a resident’s family members are welcomed into the home to visit and spend time with their dying loved one. A guest bedroom may be available for that purpose.

What is hospice?

Hospice is not a place. It is a service provided by health professionals and trained volunteers to assure comfort and dignity to terminally ill patients, primarily by controlling their pain and helping them to remain as alert as possible through medical, emotional, and spiritual means. These services are delivered 24/7 on call, wherever the patient resides—a private residence, a nursing facility, or a designated hospital-based hospice unit. Hospice is typically provided to people who, no longer benefiting from curative treatment, have a life expectancy of six months or less. It stresses the nurturing of quality of life, peace, and safe pain management.

What is the difference between hospice and a Home for the Dying?

A Home for the Dying is not a hospice; it is a place that looks and feels like an ordinary home. Residents and their guests can make use of the whole home and garden. The setting provides a sense of everydayness, compatible with hospice philosophy and the preferences of patients and families. It is a home-away-from-home for hospice patients who are either unable to remain in their own home, who lack a home of their own, or who choose not to be in an institutional setting.

How is Circle Home funded?

CFD does not receive any Medicare or Medicaid Funding, or private insurance reimbursement. Circle Home will be financially supported by community fundraising, grants, memorials, endowments, and contributions from community members, local businesses, residents, and their families.

How are Circle Home residents selected?

Prospective residents will have the following:

  • Diagnosis of terminal illness with no expectation of recovery
  • Prognosis of three months or less to live
  • Enrollment in services with Hudson Valley Hospice prior to or upon entry to the home

Resident selection is based on the person with the greatest need and fewest options. Admission is not determined by age, creed, color, ethnic background, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs.

Why only two beds?

In New York State, a facility with more than two beds is considered an institution rather than a residence. In terms of quality of care, having fewer beds suggests the potential for a higher quality of care for residents and their loved ones.

Are there other Homes for the Dying like this one?

Yes. Since 1984, this model of care has flourished in Rochester and the upstate region and has since spread to other areas in northern New York. As of 2018, there are 30 such Homes in New York State. CFD’s Home will be the first to open in the Mid-Hudson Valley region.

Does Circle Home serve the community in any other way?

CFD engages many others in joining the project. As a vehicle for education, the organization has presented vital information about dying and death through speaking engagements, tabling at public events, and hosting CFD Death Cafés throughout Ulster County and Dutchess County.
It is hoped that Circle Home will serve as a model and a resource center for promoting community-based end-of-life care solutions, public and professional learning opportunities, inter-generational volunteerism, and environmental stewardship, and will inspire grassroots initiatives in surrounding communities.

How can I help CFD?

Helping Circle Home become a good place to die is a good way to live. Get involved today! All are welcome!