Meet the founder of Legacy Hopewell House: Joan Strong Buell
A pioneer in end-of-life care, Joan Strong Buell was instrumental in bringing the British model of inpatient hospice care to the U.S. She also helped craft Oregon’s state policies around hospice care.
“I had worked in an inpatient hospice facility in England and learned not everyone can be home or wants to be home,” she says. “I was interested in the problems and solutions for people dying.”
Now, 31 years after founding Legacy Hopewell House, Joan is reflecting on her “Journey in Old Age” in an online blog. She is also sharing thoughts on her husband’s (Tom Buell) recent hospice experience.
“Many people think that hospice care means a person is imminently dying,” she writes. “Tom is still here, and the hospice support is wonderful. I asked for it early, getting a hospital bed, a weekly nurse visit, twice-a-week bath aide, so I don’t get overwhelmed, and it really does make a difference.” After a month of support from Legacy’s Hospice Services, Tom was able to go off of hospice care. “He’s fragile, but goes on well at 91,” she notes.
As Joan reminisces about her involvement with Legacy Hopewell House, first as the director of volunteers for the Visiting Nurse Association hospice team and later as the program director of the house, she says, “Every time you look at something there’s a story.”
The sacred space overlooking the garden was once her office. The word ‘hope’—written in almost every language—encircles the room. Joan recalls being in this tranquil space with two sisters—one had been at Legacy Hopewell House when their mother died; the other one was seeing the place for the first time. “Her sister brought her into the peaceful setting, and she spotted the word for hope in Vietnamese—it was very powerful,” she says.
Joan is thrilled the spirit of the home remains intact. “The fact that it has survived so well is a testament to the care provided,” she states. “It continues to be a peaceful place that helps families come through adversity whole.”
To learn more about the founder of Legacy Hopewell House, follow Joan's blog.
Would you like to support families going through hospice? Please join us at a gathering with Joan Strong Buell at Legacy Hopewell House Thursday, November 8, from 4-6 p.m. Email Rachel Gitner to RSVP or for more information.
When you make a gift to Legacy Hospice, it benefits patients facing life-limiting illness with symptoms beyond those a family or caregiver can address. Donations support the high-quality, compassionate care from a wide-array of end-of-life care professionals.