Taking steps to secure the future

Brattleboro Area Hospice launches legacy program

BRATTLEBORO — Brattleboro Area Hospice (BAH) has announced the establishment of the Friends of Cicely Saunders, a legacy program named after the British nurse who founded the hospice and palliative care movements.

With the encouragement of several people who have named BAH as a beneficiary in their wills, organization leadership has decided to create this avenue for those who want to support the dying, their families, and those grieving.

Muriel Wolf is a legacy friend who has made a bequest to BAH.

“The clients and families I've met over the years offer the most beautiful testimonies of what our care means to them,” Wolf says. “Hundreds of folks in our community have been trained as volunteers by BAH over the past four decades, and the care they have provided has not only helped their neighbors, it has changed their lives and their perspective of life's end.”

For more than 40 years, BAH has provided help and education to community members interested in completing their advance directives, which specify preferences and choices for important end-of-life medical and spiritual decisions.

This program was expanded last year to include spiritual care for all clients and volunteers.

Because BAH is one of the few hospices in the country that does not bill clients or third parties for services but instead uses a committed roster of dedicated, trained volunteers, the organization relies on the generosity of community members to ensure that programs will continue in perpetuity. It receives no state or federal funding or insurance reimbursement.

BAH serves clients before they become eligible for Medicare hospice services. The organization supports caregivers in their responsibilities and continues support beyond death into the grief process.

Those who join the Friends will be giving “all of Windham County a generous commitment to a future where the needs of the dying and grieving will be responsibly and sensitively met, entirely free of charge to all,” writes Development Director Ellen Smith.

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