30 Years of Caring:
A Message from Craig Borchardt, President and CEO, Hospice Brazos Valley
Thirty years ago the hospice movement made its way to the Brazos Valley with the incorporation of Hospice Brazos Valley. Like most other non-profits created to address an unmet need in the community, the organization was the vision of a group of volunteers who had experienced hospice care in other communities and were convinced that a hospice in Bryan-College Station would contribute greatly to the lives of those who needed end-of-life care. The vision became reality in 1989 when Hospice Brazos Valley opened its doors for the first time, serving 34 patients.
Initially misunderstood by physicians and patients alike, hospice care lived on the fringe of the healthcare establishment. Today it is an accepted part of the health care continuum. Nationally, from programs all around the country, more than 1.58 million Americans receive hospice care every year from teams of trained healthcare professionals, with 468,000 volunteers providing over 21 million hours of service.
In 2019, Hospice Brazos Valley will celebrate its 30th Anniversary. While three decades of accomplishments will be highlighted, the primary focus of the year’s festivities will be Hospice Brazos Valley’s expression of its deep appreciation to our many partners who have been instrumental to our 30 years of success. We want to the celebration to be about those with whom we work and serve, not about us.
As we make our way through the year, we’ll be sharing what we’ve learned during three decades of caring. For example, we’ve learned that it’s not about how long you live, it’s about how you live. Throughout our lives, we make decisions about how we choose to live. Those decisions shape our personal identities and the nature of life’s journey. The same is especially true at the end of life. The decisions we make allow us to focus on truly living, not just dying.
We’ve learned that it’s not about the disease, it’s about the person. Most of healthcare focuses on eradicating or slowing the effects of disease. That’s the way it should be. We appreciate the remarkable strides that have been made in healthcare these past thirty years. Yet, energy and effort often focus so intently on the disease that the person is forgotten. We’ve learned that, at the end of life, when cure is no longer possible, shifting the focus to helping a person live with a disease becomes a source of comfort and hope, resulting in a unique kind of wellness. When it comes to treating the whole person, hospice patients are some of the healthiest people we know because they are more than their diseases.
We’ve also learned that it’s not just about each of us as individuals, it’s about everyone else we’re connected to in the relationships that define our lives. We’ve seen this most vividly from those who participate in our bereavement services. Like the choices we make in life, those with whom we live are instrumental to the nature of our journey. Regardless of how we characterize those relationships, meaningful or challenging, living life without those relationships can be a source of pain and heartache and affects every other relationship we have. Being attentive to grief and working diligently to learn how to live without those who were special to us is a source of regenerative hope and inspires us to live with new meaning. We’ve learned that bereavement care is crucial to the families we’ve served. That’s why we are committed to offering comprehensive bereavement care, making us different from other hospice providers.
What an honor it is to be the only non-profit hospice in the Brazos Valley these past 30 years, having served 17,000 patients. We look forward to our anniversary celebration and invite everyone to celebrate with us.