Spotlight On … Hospicare and Palliative Services of Tompkins County

By Rob Montana
Tompkins Weekly

Photo Provided
Patient Rasa and her husband Bruce plant flowers in the Hospicare garden. Rasa is an avid gardener and has a large garden at her home. When she moved into the Hospicare Residence our gardeners fixed up a spot in the garden with a raised bed that she could easily access.

Non-profit organizations are plentiful throughout Tompkins County, and make a big impact in our communities. Despite their contributions, area non-profits can sometimes go unnoticed or unknown. In an effort to shine a spotlight on those who are making a difference in our county, Tompkins Weekly will be showcasing these organizations on a regular basis.

This week we are highlighting Hospicare and Palliative Services of Tompkins County, a community resource that provides hospice care to people with terminal diagnosis, relief during illness and bereavement support for people who are grieving a loss.

The non-profit’s biggest – and most well-known – fund raising event is Women Swimmin’, which will take place Saturday, August 12. The 1.2-mile swim across Cayuga Lake – as well as Women Swimmin’ Laps that swimmers undertake between March and August – will see nearly 400 women take part. They will be escorted by more than 150 boaters and met on shore by more than 100 volunteers. While the lake swim registration is full, there is still time to register for lap swimming, and to volunteer as a boater or a shore greeter.

To learn more about Hospicare, we asked Executive Director Dale Johnson some questions about the organization.

Tompkins Weekly: What is your mission?
Dale Johnson: Our mission is to bring medical expertise and compassionate, respectful care to people and their loved ones at any stage of a life-threatening illness and to provide information and education about advanced illness, dying, and bereavement to the entire community.

TW: How do you fulfill that mission?
DJ: We provide hospice and palliative care services to each patient, taking into account all individual circumstances, needs and preferences by using a multi-disciplinary team of professionals to provide a highly personalized array of services to support and comfort both the patient and the family. Our care teams bring extraordinary professionalism, compassion and expertise to assure that all of the unique needs at the end of life are addressed completely and competently. We also provide ongoing grief support, not only to the survivors of our hospice patients, but also to other members of our community who have suffered a loss.

TW: What are the biggest challenges your organization faces?
DJ: People wait far too long to contact us – our staff can only do its best work when there is time to establish the kinds of relationships with patients and families that respond to their unique needs.

TW: What is something people do not know about your organization?
DJ: The substantial majority of our patients receive our services in their own homes.

TW: How can people best support your mission?
DJ: Volunteer. Donate. Have conversations with friends and family about the kinds of medical care they do and do not want.

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For more information about Women Swimmin’, visit its website at; for more information about Hospicare, call (607) 272-0212, email or visit its website at

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