The Facts and FAQs
A First in Mid-Hudson Valley
70% of terminally ill people die in hospitals or nursing homes. 80 to 90% would choose to die at home, surrounded by loved ones, if that were an option. Fewer than 25% actually do.
The home for the dying or comfort care model has been thriving in locations in northern New York State since 1984. Terminally ill patients and their families have found this viable end-of-life option to be a welcome alternative to nursing facilities or expensive in-home care. Jim & Lisa’s Circle Home will be the first in our region to provide people in need with a real home and a circle of support.
Questions? We have answers…
A home for the dying is a community supported home-like residence for individuals enrolled in hospice services who have a life-expectancy of three months or less to live. A small staff and trained volunteer caregivers serve as an extended or surrogate family, providing round-the-clock care and support to residents and their loved ones. 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.
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 benefitting 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.
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.
CFD offers this service to our residents at no cost.
Circle of Friends for Dying does not receive any government or private insurance reimbursement. Circle Home will be financially supported by community fund-raising, grants, memorials, endowments, and contributions from community members, local businesses, residents, and their families.
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
- Do Not Resuscitate order in place, i.e. no life sustaining measures will be done (for example: no CPR)
- No extraordinary care needs: we are unable to provide IV therapy or feeding tubes and cannot manage difficult behaviors
- Medication needs can be administered orally, rectally, topically (patch), or by pump
- Understanding that the CFD Home is not a medical facility
- Understanding that the CFD Home is primarily staffed by trained volunteers
- Ability to be safely and comfortably managed by staff and volunteers
With the above criteria in mind, 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. In order to provide care for as many people as possible who are in need, the maximum length of stay is limited to 3 months.
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.
In the past decade, CFD has engaged 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 Death Cafes throughout Ulster County and online.
CFD hopes to make Jim & Lisa’s Circle Home a center for death literacy, where educational training, community programs, and connective opportunities with other organizations can be held. A library will hold a wealth of literature about dying and death, and living well in full awareness of our mortality. It 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.
Register on our volunteer page or give us a call at 845 802-0970 to get involved. All are welcome.
Yes. Started in 1984 in Rochester, this model of care continues to flourish in that region and has since spread to other areas in northern New York. People prefer a home located close to their own home and social network. There are currently more forty such homes in New York State. Circle Home will be the first to open in the Mid-Hudson Valley region.
The NYS homes are part of a larger grassroots movement called “Omega Homes,” located nationwide and comprised of independent nonprofit homes for the dying, dedicated to improving the end-of-life experience for individuals and families.