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Hospice of Acadiana Celebrates 35 Years

Feb 12, 2018 04:26PM ● By Savannah Ludwig

Acadiana’s only nonprofit organization that provides hospice care is celebrating over three decades of service to the nine parishes it covers by reflecting on its past — that is, while working on its future. 

Thirty-five years ago, the Rev. Louis Richard founded Hospice of Acadiana after being inspired by British physician Dr. Cicely Saunders, who’s known as the father of the modern-day hospice movement. Since then, Hospice has cared for more than 18,500 patients and sees 708 patients per year, according to the organization’s website.

Hospice Foundation Director Kacee Thompson said, “We certainly are humbled by the amount of patients and families that have entrusted us with their care during what is a very intimate time for people, a very sacred time for people.”

With the past well remembered, Hospice staff and procedures have changed measurably since it opened its doors. Thompson said the organization should next focus on serving as many people in the Acadiana area as possible.

Thompson said, “We know there’s a great deal of respect that we have to ensure that we provide as much care and support that we’re able. We want to be able to continue to provide that care and support for all of the residents and Acadiana.”

The organization was honored in 2017 by Deyta Analytics, an annual review that recognizes hospice services that provide high-quality care. Based at 2600 Johnston St. in Lafayette, Hospice of Acadiana offers care for patients both in its building and at patients’ homes. Hospice provides both medical care and emotional support in the last few months of life.

Hospice of Acadiana also provides support to families, whether through running errands or spending time with those grieving. The organization also enlists the help of veterans, who volunteer to care for their fellow military men and women. Veteran volunteers help replace patients’ lost medals, participate in pinning ceremonies, educate patients about veterans’ benefits and sharing military and life stories.

The organization has also recently formed a social media campaign to raise awareness of Hospice of Acadiana’s services. Titled “The Dandelion Project,” the informative videos were made based off what Hospice staff wished those seeking services or contemplating registering knew about the programming. The push is one of the ways the organization continues to reach out to the community.

Hospice services are available to anyone in Hospice of Acadiana’s nine-parish service area for patients whose physicians have diagnosed them with a terminal illness or condition and has a prognosis of six months or less to live. Anyone interested in Hospice’s services or volunteering can call (337) 232-1234.