Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard publishes annual report

Reveals increase in caseloads, finances, and fundraising initiative.


The 2018 annual report for Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard revealed the organization’s two most pressing needs —  more physical space and a bigger staff to meet the growing need for free end-of-life care and bereavement services on Martha’s Vineyard. Hospice staff, volunteers, friends, board members, and donors met Wednesday afternoon to discuss report findings at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.

Hospice M.V. Executive Director Tom Hallahan thanked the gathered group, about 40 people, for their hard work and support. The 2018 annual report is dedicated to Hospice volunteer Elaine Eugster, who died in early January. Hospice M.V. will start a Volunteer of the Year award in Eugster’s honor.

Hospice has 13 employees; two of them are full-time. “We need to expand to four full-time, and we need a nurse full-time,” Hallahan said in response to Hospice’s increasing caseloads.

In 2018, there were 189 Island deaths, an increase from 146 in 2017. Hospice served 105 patients — a record high, according to clinical director Chantal Patterson.

“Of those 105, we admitted 66, and there were 54 we supported through their death in 2018,” Patterson said.

Hospice added two new nurses in 2018, Gwenn A. Mead, and Michele Spaulding. “We added 51 years of nursing experience to our team,” Patterson said. “Our team now consists of over 200 years of nursing experience.”

Hospice’s Bereavement Program, the Island’s only bereavement services program, served 113 clients in 2018. The Bereavement Program offers support to families of those who have died up to one month after death. The program is offered to the entire community, even to those not involved in Hospice care. The program experienced a shift this year after the retirement of longtime counselor Trudy Carter. Counselors Shelly Favice and Kealee Rainaud joined the Hospice team in her place. Hospice wants to hire another counselor to shorten the bereavement service waitlist. “We need to be there for the community when it comes to bereavement and grief,” Hallahan said.

Hospice M.V. has 41 trained, active volunteers. “We’re hoping to have a second volunteer training in a year,” Patterson said. “There are already people on the waitlist.”

But Hospice M.V. has outgrown its space on 79 Beach Road in Vineyard Haven. “We can’t host meetings in the office anymore,” Patterson said.

“We need more parking,” Hallahan added.

In treasurer Vito Palermo’s absence, Harvey Beth of the finance committee presented the finance committee report. In 2018, Hospice’s revenue was $436,215, a decrease of $22,507 from 2017. “This is primarily the result of a decline in our fundraising events of $19,441,” according to the report.

Hospice’s expenses amounted to $723,097, an increase of $23,204 from 2017. “The increase was for additional hospice care provided to the increasing number of patients we are caring for,” according to the report.

“In order to support the organization, we have to raise revenue larger than it’s been in the past,” Beth said. “The population on the Island is aging. More people are sick. The demands for services are increasing.”

Jess Rogers spoke on behalf of Hospice fundraising. She presented a fundraising cube, which demonstrated the six elements that make up a manageable and sustainable fundraising program.

The first side is institutional readiness, “The ability of an organization to state its case, know its constituent base, and know the environment in which it functions,” Rogers said.
The second side is human resources: “Building a team of both paid and volunteer staff, and knowing how those two groups can help each other.”

The third side is management: “Fundraising is a management program that integrates science and discipline. The more we recognize and focus on that, the more successful we’ll be.”

The fourth side is markets. “The strongest markets in the U.S. are individuals,” Rogers said.

The fifth side is strategies and vehicles. “Any program will have three to four mechanisms for fundraising, and one is your annual fund … A strong annual fund is your basis for any other kind of fundraiser.”

And the sixth, final side is dynamic function, “where the team agrees, this is the plan and this is how we execute. This is how we hold ourselves accountable.”

In 2018, Hospice also adapted an electronic medical record system and a new HIPAA client application application. “This helps improve client care, and increase documentation,” Patterson said.


To see the full 2018 Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard Annual Report, click here.