Frequently Asked Questions

What is a “Comfort Home for the dying”?

The Homes for the Dying (Comfort Care Homes) all work on the same model - caring for two people at a time with the help of trained volunteers and caregivers; providing care at no cost to patient or family. A Hospice or Certified nursing agency supports the care with nursing, social work, chaplain, and aide visits. Each Home for the Dying acts independently, choosing from the list of referred patients based on their own assessment of who has the greatest need of their help. When a home is interested in offering a bed to a prospective resident, one of our Assessment Caregivers will come out to interview the person, bringing pictures of the house to help the person understand what the house is like.

Whats the difference between Hospice and Crossroads House?

Hospice is a certified home health agency that implements the hospice philosophy. The certified Hospice receives insurance reimbursement, where Crossroads House is not a certified agency, and does not receive insurance reimbursement. We are a Home, where the End of Life Caregivers, aides and trained volunteers are considered the resident’s “extended family,” and provide 24-hour care, seven days a week, free of charge. Crossroads House relies totally on the community for support. Our only income comes in the forms of memorials, donations, fundraising revenues, bequests and grants.

What is the difference between comfort care and palliative care?

Palliative care is not the same as hospice care. The goal of palliative care is to relieve the pain, symptoms and stress of serious illness - whatever the prognosis. It is appropriate for people of any age and at any point in an illness. It can be delivered along with treatments that are meant to cure you. Palliative care is typically provided by a team that includes palliative care doctors, nurses and social workers. The team works in partnership with your primary doctor.

Hospice care is designed to give supportive care to people in the final phase of a terminal illness and focus on comfort and quality of life, rather than cure. The goal is to enable patients to be comfortable and free of pain, so that they live each day as fully as possible. Hospice programs generally are home-based, but they sometimes provide services away from home - in freestanding facilities, in nursing homes, in Comfort Homes or within hospitals. The philosophy of hospice is to provide support for the patient's emotional, social, and spiritual needs as well as medical symptoms as part of treating the whole person. Hospice programs generally use a multidisciplinary team approach, including the services of a nurse, doctor, social worker and clergy in providing care.

What is the definition and history behind the word “hospice”?

The word "hospice" comes from the Latin "hospitium" meaning guesthouse. It was originally described a place of shelter for weary and sick travelers returning from religious pilgrimages. During the 1960's, Dr. Cicely Saunders began the modern hospice movement by establishing St. Christopher's Hospice near London. St. Christopher's organized a team approach to professional care giving, and was the first program to use modern pain management techniques to compassionately care for the dying. The first hospice in the United States was established in New Haven, Connecticut in 1974.

Crossroads House implements the hospice philosophy, meaning comfort care. Dame Cicely Saunders summed it up this way. "You matter to the last moment of your life and we will do all we can, not only to help you die peacefully, but to live until you die." Crossroads House embraces this philosophy.

Who is eligible for admission to Crossroads House?

Admission to Crossroads House is based solely on need, regardless of religion, age, sex, race or other distinctions. The prospective resident must desire comfort care, have a medical prognosis of three months or less, and live in Genesee or surrounding counties. Crossroads House is unable to accept every person who is referred and can only care for up to two dying residents at one time. Each case is evaluated carefully by our Assessment Caregivers and Director of Resident Care and priority is given to those people who have the greatest need at the time; i.e., those who are at home with limited adequate care giving support. Other considerations involve the complexity of nursing care that some people may require.

Crossroads House is not a hospital or nursing home. We do not use IV fluids or feeding tubes and each resident must have a signed DNR (do not resuscitate). It is not uncommon to have multiple people waiting for the next available bed. When a bed is available, our Assessment team evaluates all who are waiting, and choose the one who has the greatest need; not who is next on the list for admission.

How do I start the process of referring my loved one to Crossroads House?

If your loved one has met the admission criteria listed above, and desires admission to Crossroads House, all you have to do is call Crossroads House and ask to talk to a staff End of Life Caregiver. She will guide you through the process, and obtain necessary information to facilitate the referral. The End of Life Caregiver will encourage you to tour Crossroads House, to make sure this is what you would want for your dying loved one. Referrals are welcomed from area hospitals, physicians, social workers, case managers, discharge planners, clergy, friends and family members, neighbors and certified home health agencies such as Homecare & Hospice, VNA or Home Care Rochester (HCR).

What if my loved one who is residing at Crossroads House lives beyond three months?

In the 19-plus years that Crossroads House has served the dying in our community, we have had over 20 residents who had a remission of their disease, and were discharged from Crossroads House to an alternative placement: such as home, or they moved in with a family member, or to a Nursing home. It’s amazing to see, and such a blessing, that with proper symptom control management, socialization and tender loving care, people do go into remission and live longer than what was expected. The Assessment team at Crossroads House will work closely with the certified home health agency and family to determine the best alternative placement for the resident. We have had some of those residents come back to Crossroads House and die peacefully when that time was appropriate and a bed was available.

How are you funded?

Crossroads House is a tax-exempt, 501(C)3 not-for-profit organization, which offers its services at no cost to the resident. Crossroads House does not receive any medical insurance or governmental reimbursement. All financial support comes from memorials, donations, fund-raising events, grants and bequests. We also receive funding through the United Way and SEFA (State Employee Federated Appeal).  Crossroads House is also proud to have earned the Platinum Seal of Transparency rating from, the the world's largest source of information on nonprofit organizations.  Visit our Guidestar page here
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What volunteer opportunities are available?

There are a variety of volunteer opportunities at Crossroads House: Direct resident care, Fundraising events, Office work, Cleaning/Organizing, joining the Board, joining Special committees, Musical Talents. If you have been blessed with special gifts, give us a call to see how your gift can bless others.
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