For 20 years, Tidelands Community Hospice, a nonprofit that started more than 30 years ago, has offered “Good Mourning Day Camp” for grieving children. This year’s camp will be on July 9 at Precious Blood Catholic Church in Pawleys Island. The program is for 15 to 20 adolescents and young teens who have lost a parent or family member. Tidelands executive director Shane Player says school guidance counselors are contacted to include children outside the Tidelands data base.
“Hospice is not a place or a thing: it is a special way of caring for terminally ill patients and families,” according to a Tidelands information piece. Caring specifically for the terminally ill is a relatively new area of health care. The first U.S. hospice, in New Haven, Conn., started in 1974. The modern concept is credited to Dame Cicely Saunders who founded St. Christopher’s Hospice, London, in 1967.
Tidelands started as Hospice of Georgetown County Inc. in 1982, following a feasibility study financed by the churchwomen’s group of Prince George Winyah Episcopal Church in Georgetown. Money for the feasibility study was from the Annual Prince George Episcopal Churchwomen’s Food Sale. The hospice was incorporated on Oct. 20, 1982; however, the details of then new licensing delayed admission of the first patient until April 1985.
During the months of waiting for the license, the nonprofit trained several volunteers and hired an executive director, who resigned after three months. According to the Tidelands Mission Statement and History, “We went through September, October, November  ... still had not become licensed, had not admitted any patients, and were not considered a viable hospice program.” It was a frustrating time for the steering committee.
All that is history now, as Tidelands Community Hospice annually cares for 500 to 600 patients and family members, in Georgetown, Horry and Williamsburg counties. The latter two counties were added to the service area in 1995, and the nonprofit’s name was changed to Tidelands Community Hospice in 2002. In a typical year, Player estimates, 30 to 40 percent of Tidelands’ patients are in Horry County. Tidelands has about 60 employees, including part-time workers.
Most hospice care – approximately 95 percent – is in a home setting, the patient’s house or an extended care facility. Depending on the individual’s circumstances, care at home may not be possible. One of the unique aspects of Tidelands is the 12-bed inpatient facility, the N.E. & Ruby Green Hospice House, opened in 2007 on Fraser Street in Georgetown. Green House is not a long-term facility, Player says. It does offer five-day stays to give caregivers a break.
Medicare pays for most hospice care, but “we do not turn down patients” who may not be covered. The Tidelands Community Hospice Foundation holds fundraisers, including a golf tournament (True Blue Plantation) in September and an oyster roast in Litchfield. A thrift store, Tidelands Resale Shop, is being phased out this month. Barriedel Llorens, who has operated the shop, will focus on other fundraising efforts, such as the golf tournament.
Player, Tidelands executive director since 2011, is a Pawleys Island native and graduate of the University of South Carolina. Previously, he worked for 15 years in other areas of health care.
For details about Tidelands’ “Good Mourning Day Camp” for grieving children in July or for more information about its professional and volunteer services for persons with life-limiting illnesses contact Tidelands Community Hospice Inc.
Phone | 843-546-3410
Online | www.tidelandshospice.org