St. Luke's University Health Network


Gates Family Honored

Three Generations of Gates Family Honored by Pennsylvania Hospice Network

Three generations of the Gates family, Patti
Gates Smith, Emily Smith and Elmer Gates,
received the PA Hospice Network Community
Support Award for their advocacy and support
of St. Luke's Hospice.

Family receives Community Support Award

Bethlehem, PA (6/11/2010) - Three generations of the Gates Family recently were honored in Harrisburg by the Pennsylvania Hospice Network for their advocacy and support of St. Luke's Hospice.

“The Gates family was awarded the Community Support Award from the Pennsylvania Hospice Network for their work in furthering the mission of hospice over the last twelve months,” said Michele Giletto, Director of Development, St. Luke's Hospice.

Excellence in End-of-Life Care

The Pennsylvania Hospice Network was established in 1979 and incorporated in 1980 to provide an organizational structure for hospice programs in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Hospice Network grants awards annually to groups and/or individuals for community support, journalism, heart of hospice, spirit of hospice and the Nancy Bohnet Award of Excellence. Their mission is to promote excellence in end-of-life care.

“Since having their own hospice experience, the Gates family has made it their mission to tell everyone about hospice,” added Giletto. “The family understands first hand that hospice care is all about adding life to your days and leaning on others to provide strength when you need it most. Our hospice team unanimously agreed that they deserved to be nominated for this award.”

The Donna L. Miller Caring Series

The Gates family was introduced to St. Luke's Hospice when the family matriarch, Betty Gates, went under hospice care two years ago. Elmer Gates, inspired by the care that Donna L. Miller, DO and the St. Luke's Hospice team showered on his wife, wished to create an educational series on the benefits of hospice. Mr. Gates established an endowment fund to create the Dr. Donna L. Miller Caring Series to teach the benefits of hospice to long-term care and assisted living facility care providers. The Dr. Donna L. Miller Caring Series debuted in March 2010 with modules on Hospice in a Long-Term Care Facility, Pain Management, Spirituality and Bereavement. Additionally, the Gates family established a separate endowment for hospice nurse professional development.

For Patti Gates Smith, Betty's daughter and a nursing professional, her hospice advocacy earned an appointment to the Visiting Nurse Association of St. Luke's Board of Directors. Ms. Gates Smith was instrumental in the publishing of a December 2009 article in Pennsylvania Nurse entitled “Hospice Myths” and she is preparing to embark on a fall speaker's circuit to educate others on the benefits of hospice.

Emily Smith, daughter of Patti and Mark Smith and Betty's granddaughter, was honored for making a special recommendation to her senior class of Northwestern Lehigh last year. Emily's class honored St. Luke's Hospice with their class gift. At the commencement exercises, a check was presented to Elmer Gates by his granddaughter in honor of her grandmother, Betty Gates. The senior class paused their graduation ceremony to reflect on hospice and urged all who were present to reflect on the philosophy of hospice: that pain can be managed, that days can be good, that there can be time to say what needs to be said and that in the end, it's all about how you live.

After receiving the award, Elmer Gates, retired CEO of the Fuller Company, said, “Our family is merely reacting to the tremendous care that we received and that Betty received through hospice. We want other families faced with the same situation to have the opportunity to experience hospice. Hospice allowed us to focus 100 percent of our energy and attention on Betty, and for that we always will be grateful.”

For more information, visit St. Luke's Hospice or call 610-954-1100.

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