Chattahoochee Hospice celebrates 40 years

Published 8:30 am Saturday, January 13, 2024

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The West Point Depot was packed with staff, volunteers and community members to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Chattahoochee Hospice serving the community. 

Chattahoochee Hospice was founded in 1984 when hospice care became more prominent in the country. The hospice is a community-based nonprofit that strives to provide the highest quality care possible to patients in the community.

Dr. Joseph Downs, a founding member, spoke about his history with the hospice organization. Dr. Logan Hammond, of Opelika, has taken over as medical director. 

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Downs semi-retired from the hospice organization last year after 40 years. He said he became prepared for hospice service after caring for his great-aunts and mother in their old age. Many patients at the time wanted to go home from the hospital. 

“People weren’t happy with being there. They wanted to go home,” Downs said. “They wanted to go to a more comfortable situation.”

When the hospice opened, Downs said they began as volunteers. Chattahoochee Hospice has grown since then to include certified hospice nurses, aides, chaplains and other support staff. 

“It’s really an honor and a privilege to be here after 40 years at Chattahoochee Hospice,” Downs said. 

Still, many volunteers dedicate hours of their day to make a difference in a patient’s care. Administrator/RN Adrian Holloway honored the staff of nurses, hospice aids, chaplains, board members and physicians who work with the nonprofit. She thanked the staff for their dedication to all of their patients. 

“Thanks for all of you who have to serve,” Holloway said during the ceremony. “We just truly appreciate you all.”

Volunteer Coordinator Hilda Jones also highlighted the many contributions of the volunteers that serve the hospice. 

Holloway said the staff works hard to support patients, caregivers and others in the community in many ways. The nurses care for patients at their bedsides with dedication. Hospice aids help patients with physical demands that may be hard to ask for with graciousness. 

“We appreciate the partnerships that we share with each of you,” Holloway said. “And we hope that we have shown you why Chattahoochee has been able to survive for these 40 years. A lot has changed over 40 years. A lot of hospices kind of come and go … but Chattahoochee Hospice is in the same place as we were 40 years ago.”

Chaplain/Bereavement Coordinator Michael Stiggers also spoke during the celebration. Stiggers, from Chambers County, serves as a chaplain for many hospice care organizations. He said Chattahoochee Hospice staff care for their patients in ways that go beyond the ordinary. They have helped change lightbulbs, build ramps and check on other household chores.