Hospice of Westchester (HOW) is the only Medicare-certified, private, nonprofit hospice provider that serves all of and only Westchester county. Its singular mission is to provide dignified comfort, care, and compassion to individuals and families facing a serious or life-limiting illness, a calling the organization takes great pride in.
Founded in 1992, HOW provides individualized plans of care designed to control pain to ease the end-of-life journey for patients (both adult and pediatric) and their families. Their offerings include medical care—pain management, symptom control, psychosocial support—spiritual care, and complementary care, such as massage and art therapy, as well as bereavement services for family members.
Everyone at HOW, from administrators to night nurses, art therapists, and volunteers, are specially trained in hospice and palliative care to make the difficult end-of-life period more comfortable. “We don’t just care for patients; we care for the family, as well,” says Carol Townsend-Ross, MPA, BSN, HOW’s director of clinical services.
Although the organization’s full-time staff of 41 employees is based in White Plains, HOW cares for patients wherever they reside—in private homes, nursing facilities, or assisted-living facilities.
As a nonprofit, HOW relies “on our community and donors to support our initiatives,” says CEO Mary K. Spengler, MS. Despite recent challenges (shifts in government-funding resources, an increasing number of patients, and inadequate reimbursement rates) Spengler and Townsend-Ross have not cut programs. To maintain fiscal solvency, they have improved workflow efficiency, implemented strategic financial planning and embraced various fundraising initiatives. The efforts have paid off: Last year alone, HOW provided hospice care to 556 patients and families all over the county.