Lisa To admits she has some big shoes to fill.
The retirement of Elsa Redding as executive director of Hospice of Warren County will trigger a changing of the guard the organization hasn't faced in nearly three decades. But rest assured, the future is in good hands.
"The thing I feel wonderful about with this transition is we have Lisa To, who will bring wonderful things going forward," Redding said of her successor.
To, who will be taking over upon Redding's retirement, has over a decade of experience with the organization. She first worked as a staff nurse with the program for approximately three years in the 1990s before pursuing a Masters in Business Administration from Gannon University. Since then, she served for a time as director of nursing at Kane Community Hospital and at Warren General Hospital's Transitional Care Center before returning to Hospice of Warren County as patient care coordinator in 2005.
"Besides my background of experience and education," To said. "A key credential is having worked with Elsa Redding for approximately 11 years. Elsa has laid a wonderful foundation of how excellent hospice care should be delivered. I feel privileged to have worked with Elsa these years from when our office was in half of a house and we had a handful of patients. We cleaned commodes in an upstairs bathtub, and our forms were lined up on a utility table. To being a part of the expansion of our services that include now three other options for care of those dealing with serious illness (DeFrees Support Program, Palliative Care Service, John and Orpha Blair Hospice Residence)."
Meanwhile, To said living up to her predecessor's legacy will be difficult, but she sees a bright future for Hospice of Warren County.
"I feel privileged to have worked with Elsa," To said. "She set the standard for how we provide care. I hope to continue all of those wonderful things. Anyone coming in after Elsa would be faced with a challenge. No one will ever fill her shoes, but I'm filling the position."
According to her, the continued success of Hospice of Warren County is ensured by the shared outlook of those involved.
"It's just a wonderful organization," To said. "Every single person, from all levels of what they do here... everyone goes above and beyond to exceed expectations and they treat patients and families like their own family members. There's nothing like it. Everyone's working together to meet the goal. I look forward to working more closely with our wonderful board of directors."
To said she sees the organization continuing to expand services.
"One area where we hope to do some outreach is the pediatric population," she said, "to find ways to help those patients and their families special needs.
"I just see us continuing to find ways to better serve our patients and families."
To said she looks at professional development as being a key to providing quality care.
"Hospice and palliative care is a specialty service line, such as maternity or pediatrics," she noted. "From the people (volunteer, including Board members, the chaplain, social workers, and nurses) to the operational components needed (supplies, regulations, relationships, budget items), I feel I have a solid understanding of all that's behind sustaining excellent hospice and palliative care delivery."
I look to see us continue to educate ourselves and stay on top of how we can best deliver care. Being on top of things with our education and care delivery so we can offer the best in our specialty."
To hopes her tenure also sees an open line of communication with the community.
"Through our outreach and through our services that we offer, I hope that people will feel comfortable reaching out to us," she noted, "even if it's just to answer a question, to let people know not to be afraid of hospice."
To urged the public to visit www.hospiceofwarrencounty.com for more information on the organization.