On Thursday, October 19th, Allied Services Heinz Rehab Hospital hosted its 17th annual Spirituality and Disability Conference. This year’s topic was, “When the Time Comes: Exploring Hospice and Palliative Care.” Three local women were honored at this event for their role in helping improve the quality of life for persons in hospice/palliative care and their families.
Judy Spitale, RN, BSN, MSN, was the recipient of The Thomas E. Pugh Award for Compassion. Ms. Spitale joined an inspired group of individuals in the 1980s who opened Hospice St. John – the first hospice in Northeastern Pennsylvania. She also worked with the founding team to form what became the Medicare Hospice Benefit (1983).
In the early 1990s, she served as Professor of Community Health Nursing at (then) College Misericordia. Also in that decade, Ms. Spitale helped Hospice Community Care get their licensure. Today, she continues to use her nursing leadership skills as a volunteer at the Wilkes-Barre Free Clinic.
Theresa and Mary Chupka, members of St. André Bessette Parish in Wilkes-Barre, received the Patricia Foy Memorial Award for Courage. These women have dedicated over twenty-five years of their lives serving the hospice patients at the former Hospice Community Care Unit, now Celtic Hospice Unit, at Geisinger South Wilkes-Barre, as they bring Holy Communion to the patients there.
PHOTO 1: Judy Spitale, RN, BSN, MSN (third from left), receives the Thomas E. Pugh Award for Compassion. Presenters included James Brogna, Vice President, Corporate Advancement & Communications, Allied Services Integrated Health System; Dr. Patricia Wright, University of Scranton; Judy Spitale, and the Rev. John Franklin Hartman, Conference Chairperson.
PHOTO 2: Theresa and Mary Chupka receive The Patricia Foy Memorial Award for Courage. From left: Dr. Anne Hester, Conference Committee Member and former chaplain at Mercy Hospital (now Geisinger South Wilkes-Barre), for whom the Chupka sisters volunteered; Mary Chupka; Mary Ann Fedorczyk, CRRN, CBIS, sister of the late Patricia Foy; and Theresa Chupka.