Big Changes At St. Francis

By Sister Agnelle Ching
Wednesday - June 14, 2006
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The faces of St. Francis (front, from left) Sister Beatrice Tom and Sister Agnelle Ching (back) Michael Warren, Malcolm Tom, Eugene Tiwanak
The faces of St. Francis (front, from left) Sister
Beatrice Tom and Sister Agnelle Ching (back)
Michael Warren, Malcolm Tom, Eugene Tiwanak

As a religious order, the Sisters of St. Francis have always embraced their mission of going where they are needed to help the poor, the marginalized and the disenfranchised. It was this unconditional zeal to serve that brought Blessed Marianne Cope and six sisters to Hawaii in 1883, responding to a plea to care for the abandoned patients with Hansen’s disease. This calling also led to the opening of hospitals and other institutions, most notably St. Francis Medical Center and St. Francis Medical Center-West in Ewa Beach. The St. Francis legacy in Hawaii is rich in risk-taking and innovation.

The St. Francis Healthcare System is undergoing a major transition because of the divestiture of the two medical centers. The sale is expected to be finalized by the end of the year. Some may believe the system is becoming smaller, but in actuality, we are looking to expand our mission with a renewed focus. Through the remaining entities, emphasis will be placed on pre- and post-acute care by building on many of the current services that reach the community.

The five remaining entities will be:

1) St. Francis Community Health Services oversees two of our programs of excellence - home care and hospice - both of which were pioneered by St. Francis. Home care is a cost-effective, high-quality alternative for patients who need post-hospitalization and rehabilitation services.

Hospice provides compassionate care for terminally ill patients and their families.

As the first and largest program in Hawaii and the only one certified by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), St.

Francis Hospice differentiates itself by operating the only two free-standing inpatient hospice facilities in the state with a third being proposed. Other vital services under the Community Health Services umbrella include the parish nurse/community outreach program, which works with volunteer health ministries in parishes to help individuals take an active role in maintaining their health; Lifeline, a personal emergency response service; and bathing services for seniors.

2) Our Lady of Keaau is a place of prayer and refuge along the Waianae Coast. The 58-acre property is conducive to wellness by promoting psychosocial-spiritual needs through spiritual reflection. As plans develop, the religious-centered facility will provide outreach services for the disadvantaged and will be available to the community for meetings and celebrations.

3) St. Francis Residential Care Community is developing a 23-acre master planned community in Ewa Villages. Geared to helping older adults maintain their health and functional independence, Franciscan Vistas Ewa will include rental apartments for seniors, a senior community center. It will offer senior residents a range of in-home services, from transportation and assistance with daily living activities, to live-in help on a fee-for-service basis. Homeownership opportunities to meet the needs of working individuals and families will also be available. It is slated for occupancy in early 2008.

4) St. Francis Healthcare Foundation coordinates fund-raising efforts, acquires assets and provides community education that support the activities of the System and entities.

5) St. Francis Healthcare Enterprises manages the system’s special joint business ventures.

Other programs to remain under the system are The St. Francis International Center for Healthcare Ethics and the Franciscan Adult Day Center (formally known as SMILE-Sister Maureen Intergenerational Learning Environment), a joint partnership with the Sisters of St. Francis.

Next Week: Ray Ono, Vice President of First Hawiian Bank

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