23 Sep

Calgary Hospital brings Japanese Medical Team to The Connecticut Hospice, Inc. September 10, 2014


A physician and two nurses from Sappora, Japan toured Connecticut Hospice to see our Palliative Care Program that provides excellence in care to our patients. Connecticut Hospice, recognized internationally as a leader in hospice and palliative care, was chosen to be a part of the Calgary Hospice Educational Program. The John D. Thompson Foundation was proud to host Dr. Toshiro Kusakabe, Keiko Kusakabe RN, and Makiko Hirata RN from the Higasi General Hospital, Sapporo, Japan.

11 Sep



Acclaimed Surgeon/Sculptor Southwick; Renowned Sculptor Lucchesi and spouses to be honored in Branford September 21st.

On Sept. 21, acclaimed doctor and sculptor Wayne O. Southwick, M.D., Chairman of the Board, and his mentor, world-renowned Italian sculptor Bruno Lucchesi, will be honored with their spouses at their poignant bronze sculpture crafted for the country’s first hospice, The Connecticut Hospice, Inc. in Branford, CT.

The life-sized sculpture of a nurse with raised, lighted torch, aside family members supporting a loved one, embodies the circle of care at Connecticut Hospice Inc. In recognition of hospice’s focus on family as an indivisible element of a patient’s care, the 2014 “Patient Advocate for Life” awards will be presented to the sculptors and their wives who have so lovingly supported them in their lives, said President and CEO Mrs. Marc Alphons Hurzeler.

“It’s a testament to how strong each couple is as a team; and how together they have put their talents into creating this beautiful symbol of hope that graces our grounds,” said Hurzeler.

Installed in 2007, the sculpture is the focal point of an annual “Legacy of Hope” ceremony held each fall at Connecticut Hospice, Inc. This year’s Sept. 21 ceremony will be especially notable as it also marks hospice’s 40th year – or 21st millionth minute – of care to the palliative community.

“In this year, as we celebrate our 21st millionth minute of care, in which every minute is precious, we recognize the creators of this beautiful sculpture that is so symbolic of how patients and family are at the center for care at hospice,” said Hurzeler.

Southwick is Co-Chairman of the Connecticut Hospice Board of Directors and Chairman of the Old Lyme Academy for the Arts when he undertook creating the statue with his mentor as a gift to hospice. His acclaimed career in medicine includes credit in pioneering work in cervical spine surgery and culminated with his appointment as Professor and Chief of Orthopedic Surgery at Yale University School of Medicine. Many of Southwick’s sculptures are installed at Yale School of Medicine. Southwick met and married his wife, Jessie Ann (Seacrest) Southwick, during his medical studies at the University of Nebraska.

Lucchesi has been recognized as “the last of the Renaissance sculptors.” Since the 1950’s, he has created over 70 public works around the world, from China to Colorado, New York to New Haven (at Yale University). His wife, Ann Rosow-Lucchesi, is a West Hartford native and accomplished artist and sculptor.

Non-profit Connecticut Hospice Inc. operates with the knowledge that every minute of life is precious. Established in Branford in 1974, this year marks hospice’s 40th anniversary, or 21st millionth minute, of providing exceptional care for all in need. As the nation’s top-rated, award- winning hospice, The Connecticut Hospice Inc. continues to set the national standard for home and inpatient hospice care.


23 Apr

The Norma F. Pfriem Foundation has granted an extraordinary opportunity for Hospice patients and families


 Norma F. Pfriem Foundation has granted beds for Connecticut Hospice

L to R: Delfino; Nina, RN Instructor; Rachel, Fairfield University Nursing student; Carol*, an original Pioneer of our first bed; Judy, RN*, also a founder of the first bed and weekend supervisor; Robert, Director of Engineering; Lynne, our photographer in nursing; and Luis.

A special Thank You to the Norma F. Pfriem foundation for their generous donation of 52 beds.

A special Thank You to the Norma F. Pfriem foundation for their generous donation of 52 beds.

The Norma F. Pfriem Foundation has granted an extraordinary opportunity for patients and families to have the luxury of a first-class bed, upon their arrival. The Connecticut Hospice, Inc., the first palliative teaching hospital, who received the first Advanced Palliative Care certification in the United States of America, became the recipients of an enormous gift.

A beautiful bed for each patient and family with a state-of-the-art mattress, as envisaged in the finest homes in America, arrived for our bedrooms on Thursday, March 20, 2014.

As Spring evolves, our Norma F. Pfriem beds, together with our precious patients, will be seen on the Norma F. Pfriem Promenade. The Norma F. Pfriem Promenade, goes right to the sea and in their new Norma F. Pfriem beds, our patients will be able to sit up and enjoy the splendor of sunrises and sunsets with their families.

One of our housekeepers, Luis, said that this would be “beautifully best for families.”

Co-Chairman of the Board and of the Professional Advisory Committee, Dr. Wayne Southwick, M.D., together with Dr. Wen-Jen Hwu, M.D., Ph.D., Board of Directors and Chairman of Professional Advisory Committee, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Professor, Department of Melanoma Medical Oncology and United States Chairman of Woman in Cancer Research, and member Chief William Farrell, who is also Chairman of the President’s Circle, “never has a gift been beamed more intensely at our patients and families.” The only exception was 14 years ago when Norma F. Pfriem, herself, granted the state-of-the-art beds to each patient and family.

The nursing staff all participate in the International Norma F. Pfriem Fellowship in Hospice and Palliative Care Nursing, has enabled over sixty-eight (68) of the nurses to sit and pass their national boards in hospice and palliative care and thirty-three (33) of our certified nurses aides.

Some of those staff, pictured here in their ta-dah mode, were the very ones who selected the first* state-of-the-art, ICU superbly crafted mattress to support the remarkable patients that we are honored to care for.

The luxury of this support is only matched by the magnificence of the Norma F. Pfriem nursing staff at the Hospice, as “The Connecticut Hospice, Inc. will celebrate its 40th Anniversary, or in a place where every minute counts, its 21st Million Minute, “Operation Blessings”.

Eileen Mino
The Connecticut Hospice, Inc.
Communications Department
emino@hospice.com http://www.hospice.com


25 Mar

HB 5326, “An Act Concerning Compassionate Aide in Dying for Terminally Ill Patients”

 Testimony of

Dr. Joseph F. Andrews, Jr., M.D., HPM

Chief Medical Officer of The Connecticut Hospice, Inc. and

Chairman of the Connecticut Palliative Physicians Group™


HB 5326, “An Act Concerning Compassionate Aide in Dying for Terminally Ill Patients”

March 17, 2014

I am honored, on behalf of The Connecticut Hospice, Inc, and of my colleagues, Rev. Godbolt and Nurse Practitioner, Kathleen Nopper, to share this time with the advocates of the disabled.  We are a diverse group, and share important positions.

1.            Relief of suffering is paramount to all.


2.             Physicians and other caregivers need to focus attention more closely upon relief of suffering of patients and families, as well as, upon disordered physiology.


3.             We all share the burdens and frustrations of chronic, often partial, and seemingly endless illnesses.


We acknowledge the concerns of the bill’s proponents but have different solutions.  We oppose HB Bill 5326 for three sets of reasons.


First, palliative and hospice care is clearly and demonstrably effective at providing relief from fear, anxiety, pain, dyspnea, nausea, and delirium.  In occasional cases where complete relief eludes our efforts, we can use medications more aggressively if the patient and family are agreeable to reduced alertness and increased somnolence.  Our goal is comfort; the duration of the patient’s life is often lengthened a bit, most often unchanged, and rarely shortened by palliative care in this setting.  In my seven years at Connecticut Hospice I have discussed assisted suicide with fewer than five patients and believe that good relief of symptoms almost always ends the discussion.  In this way, the patient’s wishes are honored and a comfortable death expected.

More and better palliative care will answer our shared three needs listed above.

Second, HB Bill 5326 is filled with unclear language and inner contradictions.  Sec 3(d), prescribing that an extended care facility, in which the patient resides, shall designate a witness for the death, seems inconsistent with 3(b) wherein the facility owner/operator shall not participate in this.  Section 6(4) refers to a consultant confirming the diagnosis of terminal illness by the attending physician.  Is there certainty here, or preponderance of probability, which is more likely in my experience?  Must we not be certain here?  6(b) legalizes the falsification of a death certificate by forbidding the entry of assisted suicide as the cause of death.  This will cause endless difficulties with medical examiner, law, insurance, annuities despite 11(d) which assures us that no such difficulty will occur.  Insurance companies will look at all this quite closely.

15(c) forbids any public agency to call “suicide” or “assisted suicide” any name but “aid in dying.”

16(b) provides that the measures in the bill do not violate 53a-56.  But they do violate it.

I am not a lawyer, but these linguistic and conceptual problems do not increase respect for our laws.  At least 1 – 6(b) legalizes the illegal.

Third, good laws tend to make it easier for us to behave prudently and keep our integrity in our social and ethical lives.  We protect children from drugs and alcohol by law; we protect lives and property in many ways; we acknowledge by laws the impossibility of utopian perfection in the dark wood which is the world.

It is understandable that we would wish to abolish individual intolerable suffering by assisted suicide; yet I believe the impulse offers a narrow, solitary solution to a problem with complex cultural effects.  We are all not alone.  We are members of civil society, families, kinships, and networks.  After 40 years in medicine, I can testify that people in pain and misery will change their goals and wishes even from day to day.  The idea of death divides families, often bitterly.

If I provide my patient the means of death on a Monday, would he or she have changed his mind Tuesday?  Ah, he or she is gone Tuesday, a citizen of death’s gray land, they will have no shares in time’s tomorrows.

And the survivors?  They will have compassion fatigue, burnout, stress, and shared pain.  Death may give them an ambivalent mix of relief from toil and economic gain, even as bereavement deepens.  Many will feel guilt about their gains, and doubt the right of what was done.

Some attempts to use the power of the state and the laws to improve our lives and our society can work.  Witness the story of civil rights 1964-2014.  Yet, state power used for social ends can and has led to horror beyond imagining.  Witness the laws under the Third Reich and all that followed their enforcement.  Those who deny the “slippery slope” do so at peril to us all.

And so I conclude that the burdens of HB Bill 5326 outweighs any benefit.  To make it work you will need to shatter and scatter the renowned role of medicine in our society, all to pursue the mirage that death can always be made free of suffering for all involved.

The central error is the overthrow of a good work for the illusion of a perfect work.

Families and friends will be divided by these patients’ choices; the clinicians who  participate will be uneasy and will feel their dignity ebb into self-doubt.  The weak remedy of legality will not relieve the pain of moral failure.

I will oppose HB Bill 5326 and if it is passed, will not obey it, and I will urge my fellow physicians and APRNs to disobey it also, in defense of the sick, disabled, ourselves, and our deepest convictions.

18 Mar

Volunteer at The Connecticut Hospice, Inc.

If you or someone you know is looking for an opportunity to serve others in your community, we would like to hear from you.  Our patients and families are in need of your care and support.

The Connecticut Hospice, Inc. is sponsoring Spring training.  This volunteer course will inform and prepare prospective volunteers in all aspects of Hospice care including transportation.

Representatives from the nursing, social work, spiritual care, arts and bereavement departments of The Connecticut Hospice, Inc. will make presentations describing their individual roles in the interdisciplinary care of hospice patients.

Please contact Joan Cullen, Director of Volunteers at 203-315-7510 OR 1-800-8-HOSPICE ext. 510 or email at jcullen@hospice.com to set up an interview.

12 Mar

Welcome to our new website!

hospice_loginWelcome to the new home of The Connecticut Hospice, Inc.! Since 1974 we have been dedicated to providing you the most in hospice care and we are proud to announce an update to our website to reflect our distinction.

If you have any questions, please email using our Contact Page, otherwise feel free to peruse our website and check back here for future news articles and updates about the happenings at Connecticut Hospice!