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Overview of Comfort Care

Shepherd Home welcomed our first resident in November 2005 and we have cared for 100 residents to date. We have journeyed with these courageous women and men during the final days and weeks of their lives and offered hospitality to their families and friends. Hospice care is provided to our residents in our beautiful, spacious two-bedroom home by our trained volunteers and our staff nurses. They are under the supervision of our medical director as well as a certified hospice agency. We do not accept payment for the services we provide, nor do we receive insurance reimbursement. We depend totally on donations, memorial gifts, and fundraising events to maintain our ministry to the dying and their families.

A person must have a three-month or less diagnosis from their physician to be considered for admission to Shepherd Home. We receive referrals from the certified hospice agencies in the area; mainly Lifetime Care and Visiting Nurse Service. We select the persons with the most need. Our residents come from the Penfield community as well as the city of Rochester and surrounding towns.

Shepherd Home is a home for the dying and is also referred to as a comfort care home. Our story begins in 1997 when a group from St. Joseph’s Church and Heritage Christian Homes met to explore the possibility of creating a home here in Penfield. The group, led by Fr. Kevin Murphy and Ray Wilcox, held several informational meetings to involve the entire community. While these meetings stimulated ideas that ultimately became a foundation upon which to build, the plans did not come to fruition and the group dissolved in 1999.

However, a cadre of 18 determined people continued to explore ways to serve the terminally ill. Under the leadership of Joan Benati, RN, BSN, the group began providing respite care to the ill in their homes; in the past ten years they have served over 330 patients in their homes and in nursing homes.

While this continuing ministry is separate and not affiliated with the operation of Shepherd Home, it helped inspire the next step in Shepherd Home’s history. Many in the group participated in starting anew a committee to build a comfort care home, and in 2001 Shepherd Home was incorporated. After careful analysis and study, the group decided it was more feasible to build a home rather than renovate an existing house. The Episcopal Church of the Incarnation offered an exceptional lease site for Shepherd Home behind the church and the lease agreements were signed in 2004. At the same time, Jim Barbato, President of Pridemark Homes, Inc. volunteered to be the general contractor, and Rochester Home Builder’s Assocation Executive Vice President Rick Herman pledged the support of its members.

On April 18, 2005, digging of the foundation began. Thanks to all the subcontractors and suppliers who provided their services and materials, construction was completed 62 days later on June 19. The Shepherd Home Board of Directors, chaired by Rev. Barbara Wolin and Chan Philbrick hired Elizabeth Inglis as Executive Director and she began August 1. By October the nursing staff was in place, 60 volunteers were trained, and we welcomed our first resident November 1, 2005.

The route from idea, to vision, to planning, to grand opening, and finally to a continuing ministry for the dying and their loved ones hasn’t been a straight line, but it has been an inspiring journey!

Many people created Shepherd Home and continue to keep it a vibrant and valued asset for Penfield.

We are grateful to our many compassionate volunteers, our nurses, our medical director, our professional staff, our board, and all our supporters in Penfield and beyond that enable us to continue this gentle ministry.