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Hopewell House Picks Executive Director, Prepares to Resume Hospice Care

[Posted Thursday, February 24, 2022]

Supporters of Hopewell House, a residential hospice institution located in Hillsdale, have hired Lesley Sacks, LCSW, to lead the non-profit as executive director. This represents a major step toward reopening the facility, which has remained shuttered since 2019.

With this advance, operations could resume as soon as late summer 2022.

When the closure was announced by the previous owner, Legacy Health, Friends of Hopewell House was formed with the goal of keeping the 32-year old care provider in operation. The group has adopted a new financial model to address a changed health care funding landscape and has so far raised $3.4 million toward purchasing the facility. (Learn more here).

A woman stands outside in front of a house.
Lesley Sacks, LCSW, new executive director, in front of Hopewell House.

An experienced manager in hospice care and social services, Sacks will assume the post in April. She has spent the past seven years in social services at Portland’s Traditions Health (formerly Hospice Care of the Northwest) and previously worked for Cedar Sinai Park’s 88-bed Robison Jewish Health Center on Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy. A graduate of Grant High School, she received her masters of social work from Portland State University and her bachelors in sociology from Willamette University.

Sacks says her new job and the mission values of Hopewell House “fit with what I was looking for and where I wanted to go.” In particular she cites Hopewell’s community oriented non-profit status and desire to serve those with limited options for hospice care. As a Portland native, she also says her work at Hopewell House will allow her to give back to the city she loves. Sacks was selected following a three-month search process involving a pool of 45 applicants. Sarah Newhall, chair of the search committee, praises Sack’s “dynamic and creative leadership,” “extensive experience with case management and counseling,” her deep grounding in hospice care and for her extensive contacts with the larger home hospice, hospital and medical communities. The Friends group consists of former Hopewell staff from three decades, family and friends of patients and others who cite the need for a residential hospice facility in Portland. Over the years, some 10,000 had been cared for in their final days at Hopewell House. The non-profit continues to work toward its goal of raising $5 million, part of which will cover upgrades to the building, and start-up and continuing costs beyond the purchase of the house. More than 1200 donors have contributed to the cause so far.

The building is now in escrow for purchase by Friends of Hopewell House.

When re-opened, Hopewell House will once again be Portland's only residential hospice facility (as opposed to in-home hospice care in which providers visit the dying in their own home, offered by many providers in the area). It will be operated by a staff of 25 and supported by an estimated 150 volunteers.

Friends of Hopewell House will run the residential facility dedicated to hospice care. The group says that collaborations with hospitals and other hospice providers will provide 24/7 medical, emotional and spiritual care while increasing patient accessibility and lowering costs to help people live well while dying.

--Valeurie Friedman


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