Hospice of Jefferson County, Inc. was founded in 1985 by a group of concerned professionals and community members who saw a need in the region for an organization that could support patients who desired to spend their final days at home, and the family members who cared for them.
Hospice started as a volunteer organization, and has remained true to the volunteer spirit to this day. Its first office was located in a room at the former New York State Air Brake and housed a staff of less than ten. After becoming certified and eligible to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs, the staff and caseload grew, necessitating a move to larger quarters at 714 Washington Street, Watertown. In 1994, the agency settled into its next office at 425 Washington Street.
Today Hospice consists of a staff of 41 nurses, social workers and counselors and a large group of volunteers. Over the years Hospice has cared for more than 5,000 patients and their families in Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties. Although its address may have changed several times, one thing that has never changed is Hospice's unwavering commitment to help people live their final months of life in dignity and comfort.
Hospice is governed by two boards, one which oversees the operating agency and the other which manages the Foundation. The Boards and their committees meet regularly and play an active role in the management of the organization. The Boards embrace accountability and transparency, and ensure that the agency operates according to the highest ethical standards.
The newest chapter in the organization's history is an eight-bed residence and office building on Gotham Street in Watertown. This facility allows Hospice to provide care to patients who lack round-the-clock caregivers, as well as respite for families who may need some help from time to time.