Help Hospices in the Wake of Harvey

The scope of the natural disaster in Texas is overwhelming. NHPCO has heard from a number of members throughout the country asking about ways to best support our hospice and palliative care colleagues in regions of Texas who are coping with the ongoing devastation of Hurricane Harvey and the continuing rains and flooding.

First, NHPCO extends thoughts and prayers to all those affected by this natural disaster. We know that hospice and palliative care professionals are continuing to care for patients and family members despite flooding, blocked roads, power outages, property damage and personal loss. As the full impact of the situation unfolds, we stress the importance of safety as our colleagues face the brunt of this disaster.

During times of such disasters, it is essential that concerned individuals recognize the importance of following the direction of first responders and the agencies that are on the ground addressing the most critical needs. In these initial hours – and as the impact of flooding continues – we must heed the advice of emergency management systems that are responding as designed.

As with previous events of this nature, NHPCO traditionally coordinates with state associations to respond in the most effective manner; we have found that state associations best know the needs and priorities of providers in affected regions. Our leadership is working to contact our colleagues at the Texas & New Mexico Hospice Organization based in Austin. We will learn more about the best ways to support our colleagues and providers in the region in the days and weeks ahead.

One way we have supported providers in areas affected by tragedies such as this is through the National Hospice Foundation (NHF) Disaster Relief Fund. This fund was specifically established to aid the hospice community when disaster overwhelms regularly-available resources. We have found that financial donations are one of the most helpful ways to address needs in the imminent wake of destruction. NHPCO and NHF will be collecting donations through the fund and giving to the Texas & New Mexico Hospice Organization to use in the ways that will be most beneficial. We welcome your support of the NHF Disaster Relief Fund; to donate, please visit the NHF donation page online.

Tragedy and loss are part of our world. Yet amid the wreckage and destruction, hope can be found. By surviving disasters, such as the hurricane and flooding that we are watching unfold in Texas, people recognize that they are part of a greater community, a community built upon our shared humanity. 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.

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