Hospice of Okeechobee




Our beginnings in 1983

The first meeting of Hospice was held at Buxton Funeral Home in September, 1983.  The local group started under the umbrella of Hospice of the Treasure Coast (located in Fort Pierce).  The Okeechobee Branch organized itself and appointed Paul Buxton as President.  The first volunteer training session was then held.  Using office space donated by the County, the first patient (who had been waiting for services) was accepted.

In 1986 Hospice of Okeechobee was awarded a Certificate of Need by the State of Florida.  Changes were also occurring nationally at that time.  Congress had noticed the many benefits of Hospice's services and began reimbursing for these services under the Hospice Medicare Benefit. In 1987, Hospice of Okeechobee was issued a license by the State of Florida and became certified by Medicare and Medicaid.  Hospice of Okeechobee also became a Blue Cross / Blue Shield provider.  Hospice of Okeechobee began incorporating paid staff members along with their volunteers.  Over the years the office moved from 207 SW 2nd St. to 210 NW Park Street.

In 1995, Hospice of Okeechobee built an office building at 411 SE 4th Street in Okeechobee.  The land for the building was donated to the organization by Frieda Hamrick.  The adjacent lot allows room for growth as services expand.

In 2002, Hospice of Okeechobee began offering its services to patients at Raulerson Hospital.  Hospice works closely with the hospital staff in serving these patients.  Through this collaboration we seek to create an atmosphere of support and understanding to help hospital patients, and those close to them, adapt and respond to the changes that occur during the final states of a life limiting illness.

In 2005, the Blue Volunteer Building was constructed on the old Hamrick property, located next to the hospice office building at 411 SE 4th Street.  The volunteers hold Yard Sales in their building to raise money for hospice patient care in Okeechobee.

In 2006, Hospice of Okeechobee converted their office building to a 12 bed hospice residence.  On July 31, 2006 the first patient moved into the facility, named The Hamrick Home in honor of its main benefactor.  The hospice offices remain in the building, in the administrative wing.

In 2009, Hospice of Okeechobee converted two resident beds to inpatient status which allows us to meet the growing demand of individuals needing a higher level of service. This also provides us the ability to provide respite care for care givers needing short term relief.

We implemented "Brightree" a computerized medical record system which provides us the ability to more quickly respond to the changing requirements of various regulations and to capture required data. It also reduces the amount of paper used for patient charting.

We lost Board Member Stella Cross, an outstanding community healthcare advocate and our "Founding Father" Paul Buxton. A part of his legacy is Hospice of Okeechobee.

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