The Kaplan Family Hospice Residence focuses on providing holistic care to patients in their final moments.

Of an approximately 180-person staff, Tonianne Motta is the head nurse practitioner. She says hospice care is a calling.

"I love to listen," she said. "Everyone has a story and I get to hear that in this type of position, in this type of career. That’s what I am. I’m a nurse practitioner."

Kaplan is one of eight hospice residences currently open statewide. In 2020 alone, the Hospice of Orange and Sullivan Counties, which owns the facility, cared for over 1,300 patients. Of that number, 256 were housed here.

What You Need To Know

  • The Kaplan Family Hospice Residence is one of eight residences presently operational in New York

  • The residence says to date, they have no reported cases of COVID-19 within its walls

  • The facility houses 11 beds; many of their patients are taken care of at home

Teresa Clearwater is the director of the residence. She began her time here as a nurse 11 years ago. Oncology was her specialty for many years.

"It completes the circle of life, and I want to do my best to provide my patients with dignity and comfort at the end of their lives," she said.

Rooms here do not look at all like a typical hospital room, and that was done on purpose so patients can feel at home. Through teamwork, the frontline workers were successful in keeping the facility COVID-free.

"Because we maintained continuity of care during the whole pandemic," Clearwater said.

Spiritual care plays a crucial role here. Gary 'Dojun' O’Connor, director of spiritual care and volunteer services, is trained to help patients and their loved ones find peace and comfort.

But how does Gary cope with such a responsibility?

"For me, I find the work itself nourishing. I don’t carry what isn’t mine in the work. The patient’s grief is not my own. Does it touch my own grief? Absolutely," he said.

The book of prayers he keeps nearby is helpful not only for patients, but for him as well.

"If I climb up to heaven, You are there. If I make the grave my bed, You are there also," he read.

The facility will celebrate its 15th anniversary in August.