A Special Place

Guest column

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 7:46 am (Updated: May 30, 6:10 pm) Sumter County Times, Florida


Lane Purcell Hospice House cares for seriously-ill Sumter area patients

Serving Sumter County and the surrounding areas, Lane Purcell Hospice House in Sumterville has been caring for seriously-ill patients since March 2009. “As with all four of our hospice houses in Lake and Sumter, the Lane Purcell Hospice House has rooms with a flat screen TV and an enclosed lanai. The home-like environment provides an extremely comfortable yet professionally staffed home for patients requiring interim, specialized care until they can go home,” explained Cornerstone Hospice CEO Mary Manrique.



Named in memory of Lane Purcell, a prominent Sumter county businessman, philanthropist and community leader, this hospice house is now the fourth such facility built by Cornerstone Hospice. Lane Purcell was the owner of the Lane Purcell Funeral Home in Bushnell and died in a tragic vehicular accident in 2005. His wife Cheryl and their grown children cut the ceremonial ribbon when the Lane Purcell Hospice House was showcased to the general public at a grand opening in December 2008.


The Lane Purcell Hospice House is located at 2452 C.R. 526 in East Sumterville. The facility is on the edge of Lake-Sumter Community College grounds.
Georgia Klems RN, patient care supervisor at Lane Purcell Hospice House, prides herself in the quality of patient care provided by the medical and nursing staff. The passion with which the hospice house staff cares for their patients is oftentimes rewarded by unsolicited testimonials. Recently one was received from Ms. Christa Hoellering-Hawes, mother of Michele Hoellering, who said, “How do you thank so many dedicated, thoughtful and incredibly hardworking human beings, who see so much suffering but try their very best to alleviate some of the pain? My husband, my family and I will forever be indebted to The Villages and Lane Purcell Hospice Houses for their incredible devotion and service at a time of great need and sorrow.


“The devotion, nursing care and compassion which all extended with such love and dignity to Michele during her suffering was a source of great comfort to Michele and to me. While all the nurses and staff took such great care of Michele, they also comforted me many times during a time when it broke my heart to be unable to halt the progression of her MS. At Lane Purcell Hospice House everybody tried to comfort me when the going got really rough – and yes, all of us had a good laugh once in a while, because there were moments when my daughter’s great sense of humor cheered all of us up. When the end came on December 31, 2011, Michele was finally free, but as long as she was under the care of Cornerstone Hospice she was loved and cared for.”


Nick Buchholz, executive director of the Cornerstone Hospice Foundation, expresses how fortunate Cornerstone is to have had contributors such as the late Glenn Wade, a former Foundation board member. Mr. Wade, Dr. Lowell Clark and Jon Manning donated the land for the Lane Purcell Hospice House. Many community-conscious people and organizations contributed $2.8 million, ranging from twenty-five cents to $600,000, to build the house. “We are forever grateful,” said Buchholz.
Sumterville hospice house design inspires other counties


Cornerstone CEO Mary Manrique commented that the design features of both the Lane Purcell Hospice House and the Mike Conley Hospice House in Clermont have attracted the attention of foundation advisory board members from our other coverage areas who are exploring the possibilities of hospice houses in their regions. “At Lane Purcell Hospice House the water fountain and gazebo in the courtyard, visible from the patients’ rooms, are especially comforting features,” said Manrique.



Sharon Brainard RN and Cornerstone Hospice executive manager mentioned one recent family testimonial received just this week from Matthew Wheeler. It concerned his mother Agnes Wheeler who passed away in April at Lane Purcell Hospice House. Son Matthew wrote, “My mother was very reluctant to leave her dog as well as her home of 38 years. In fact, while I know she was scared beyond words, in her heart she knew this was the right thing for her own sake in terms of having the right resources to care for her. From the first day, mom wanted the staff to know that she was still capable of making her own decisions and that she still desired to be in control of her life. However, the reality was that her health was failing quickly and she needed more resources than what I was capable of providing at home. Having said that, she began to bond with the staff and to ask questions about the disease process and how things would end. It was at that point where I believe mom really began to deal with many issues that she had been worried about.


“Simply put, I could not have asked for a better environment for my mom and I truly felt that the hospice house had hired “earthly angels” to care for her until God sent His angels to take her home. I am so grateful my family had a hospice house like Lane Purcell in Sumter County.” Wheeler continues, “Even though mom could not say much nor do much in her last week at the hospice house, she would have a warm smile for staff members which meant the world to me. To see how quickly she had formed a heartfelt bond with the staff was so comforting. Whatever she needed or wanted, they provided. No hesitation...no complaints...no worries. They not only availed themselves to mom, but to me as well. They kept me informed, provided emotional comfort and allowed me to talk through feelings that I had as well. At times, I felt like I was receiving more care than I could or should ever ask for as I was not the patient in the bed. The house was clean, beautiful, staffed with wonderful staff who truly understand their roles and the need of the patient and the patient’s family during such a difficult time.”



Renewal of Wedding Vows at Lane Purcell Hospice House!

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Nonprofit Cornerstone Hospice Chaplain Angelo Cruz 'Sein (right) who originally married the couple in 2007, at the request of patient LIncoln O. Watson (center) performs a renewal of wedding vows ceremony on May 24th at Lane Purcell Hospice House in Sumterville. Ms. Ruby Watson (left) listens to the proceedings of the ceremony by Chaplain Cruz 'Sein.

Admitted to Lane Purcell Hospice House only last week, patient Lincoln “Red” O. Watson asked for Cornerstone Hospice chaplain and bereavement and spiritual care counselor Angelo Cruz ‘Sein to reaffirm his wedding vows to his wife Ruby Watson. The Watsons, married on July 4, 2007, have five children from their prior marriages: Michael of Plant City; Anthony of Wildwood; Amy also of Wildwood; Joey of Enterprise, Alabama; and Dusty of Summerfield Lake near The Villages.


”Lincoln had been talking for several weeks about doing this but his illness always interfered with his plans. Having this ceremony here at the hospice house was to say the least, rather unexpected; I was caught totally by surprise,” said Mrs. Watson. Within twenty-four hours chaplain Cruz ‘Sein officiated a Renewal of Wedding Vows ceremony and indeed, Lincoln was able to reaffirm his wedding commitment to his wife on May 24. Mr. Watson asked specifically for chaplain Cruz ‘Sein. He had originally married them. The chaplain’s wife, Bertha Cruz ‘Sein, was Ruby’s maid of honor at their 2007 wedding. The couple was surrounded by well-wishers and the nursing staff at Lane Purcell Hospice House who provided a bouquet of Birds of Paradise. “It was the most emotional Renewal of Vows I have ever seen in my life,” said Kate Silvestro, Lane Purcell Hospice House licensed practicing nurse. Volunteer specialist Kim Carter assisted with the proceedings and team assistant Melissa Thomas helped with photos.


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Retired U.S. Navy veteran Dan Boone will observe next week his third year as a Hospice volunteer, serving as a Lane Purcell Hospice House greeter and front desk receptionist on Mondays and Tuesdays. Boone also has respite duties with three Cornerstone Hospice patients. ".......this allows the caregivers an opportunity to go for groceries, pick up medicines, run some errands, while I keep company and engage in conversation with patients", says Boone, who served his nation thirteen years in the U.S. Navy, serving aboard the anti-submarine aircraft carrier USS Wasp in the Mediterranian, as well as recovering the NASA space capsules for the Gemini flights 4, 6, 7, 9 and 12, and later deployed to the Pacific aborad the USS McMorris.


The Lane Purcell Hospice House is part of the nonprofit Cornerstone Hospice community healthcare organization providing medical, emotional, spiritual, and personal care services for patients and families facing serious, complex illness. In April 2008 Hospice of Lake & Sumter name was changed to Cornerstone Hospice to be more reflective of the geography of the several counties served by the organization. Since 1984, Cornerstone Hospice and Palliative Care has provided care and services to central Florida residents experiencing life-limiting illnesses and accept Medicare, Medicaid and most commercial insurances. To learn more, call (352)343-1341 or toll-free 888-728-6234 or visit www.cornerstonehospice.org as well as www.SeriousIllness.org/Cornerstone.