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Helping Hospices Recover from Tornadoes and other Disasters

A Message from Don Schumacher
May 24, 2011

Helping Hospices Recover from Tornadoes and other Disasters

The destruction caused by the tornadoes and violent storms of past weeks is overwhelming. Particularly heart wrenching is the devastation and loss of life seen in Joplin, Missouri. A number of hospice programs in Joplin have been severely affected and hospice staff in the region are continuing to search for patients and families that have been displaced or are missing. As the full impact of the devastation continues to unfold, NHPCO extends its thoughts and prayers to all those whose lives have been affected. 

As hospice and palliative care professionals, we recognize the significance of loss within a person’s life, we also understand how those not directly affected may identify with victims and struggle with their emotions. Ultimately, tragedy can show people they have more resiliency and strength then they realized. Neighbors help neighbors. Communities come together to rebuild. It becomes clear that survival is possible. While we cannot stop the forces of Mother Nature, we learn that the care and support of family and friends is essential. 

As reported earlier this month, NHPCO is in communication with state hospice organizations to gauge the impact of these natural disasters and we are supporting the hospice and palliative care community through collaborations with these state organizations. NHPCO will continue to keep members informed as more details are available.   

Here at NHPCO, we have heard from a number of individuals asking how they can support our colleagues in these devastated regions. While on the spot emergency relief is best directed through local authorities and organizations with significant capacity, such as the American Red Cross, the concern voiced by so many of our members is a testament to the dedicated staff and volunteers of our nation’s hospice and palliative care programs. The National Hospice Foundation (NHF) is making funds available to support state organizations as they respond to recovery efforts of providers at the local level.

NHF’s Disaster Relief Fund was established to aid the hospice community when disaster overwhelms regularly-available resources. In the past, the Disaster Relief Fund made grants to support recovery efforts following Hurricane Katrina, the Haitian earthquake, the flooding in Tennessee last year, and tornado destruction in Alabama only weeks ago. The Fund also supports grief and bereavement programs to foster community healing following traumatic events.  

We welcome your support of the disaster fund and to enhance NHF’s ability to care for the hospice and palliative care community. To donate, please visit www.nationalhospicefoundation.org/disasterrelief.

J. Donald Schumacher
President and CEO
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
National Hospice Foundation

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