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Providing Comfort and Care

Rotary Club member, Philippe Koenig standing with Nafi Cunningham, Community Relations Representative with Tidewell Hospice

“We come to you, wherever ‘home’ is … We give comfort and care to the sick and to the family as a
whole,” stated Nafi Cunningham, Community Relations Representative with Tidewell Hospice, in her
presentation to the Rotary Club of Longboat Key at its February 5 th meeting. She is pictured (right) with
Rotary Club member, Philippe Koenig, who related how kind and helpful Tidewell personnel and
volunteers were three years ago during the last days of his wife’s life. Tidewell Hospice has served the
area for almost 40 years, working to fulfill the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of people with
advanced illnesses, bringing services to private residences, assisted-living or long-term care
communities, hospitals, and Tidewell Hospice Houses.

Cunningham joined Tidewell in April 2016, managing multiple facets of the campaign to build a new
Hospice House in Lakewood Ranch which will be accepting its first patients next month. The eight
Hospice Houses in the Sarasota-Bradenton area include a total of 72 beds in a home-like atmosphere
with 24-hour care. The professional staff and volunteers of the local not-for-profit organization furnish
services to approximately 1100 patients with life-limiting illnesses each year in Sarasota, Manatee,
Charlotte and DeSoto Counties, providing comfort and care and pain management to patients whose
conditions have declined to the point where they and their physicians have concluded that curative
treatment is no longer effective and that death is likely to ensue within six months. Cunningham
reported that the organization also provided grief assistance to 9000 family members last year, stressing
that Tidewell Hospice is part of the community and its mission is to serve the family as a whole.

Kindness and compassion are the attributes of the 1100 “very special people” who serve as volunteers
for the organization, according to Cunningham. While she reported that Medicare, Medicaid, and
private insurance cover the expenses of most who require hospice care, she asserted, “We never turn
anyone away.” More than $4.7 million is raised each year to cover the expenses of Tidewell’s “Wish
Fund” and the many complimentary services and programs provided by the organization’s
interdisciplinary team. “We try to make the pain go away and to make good memories in the process,”
Cunningham concluded. To learn more about the programs, services, and volunteer opportunities
available through Tidewell Hospice, visit www.tidewell.org. To learn more about the Rotary Club of
Longboat Key, visit www.longboatkeyrotary.org.