Mercy Center is in Great Need

October, 2015

Dear Friends of AFG,

Please consider donating generously to AFG to support our work with The Mercy Center Hospice, Nursing School and Home Care Program, founded in 2006 as the first, but now only, hospice and palliative care center in Georgia.

Nurse and patient in Mercy Home Care Program

Nurse and patient in Mercy Home Care Program

       This unique program provides qualified and compassionate care, free of charge, for many of the most vulnerable Georgians with terminal or chronic illnesses who are living under the poverty line, many alone in their homes with few options for care. Over 30% are women of all ages receiving care for metastatic breast cancer. We write to you now because these services, funded over the past year by proceeds from AFG’s 2014 Georgia Gala, will end in November unless there is an immediate influx of funding. Amazingly, the Mercy Center Hospice program can be fully funded with only $6,000 a month, but is essential to the support of elderly and disabled patients in Georgia.


A patient moved from palliative care at home to Mercy Hospice

Health insurance in Georgia does cover hospitalizations, as we do here in the United States, but not the very critical need for post-hospital rehab or palliative care services. Additionally, there is no system similar to our “Visiting Nurse Association” or any public rehabilitation centers in Georgia. Georgian elders living on small pensions cannot pay for private home health services when chronic or terminal illnesses arise. The Mercy Center Hospice, Nursing School and Home Care Program fills this invaluable niche in the social fabric of Georgian frail elders and desperately ill patients.

The Mercy Center Hospice is a small enterprise, but with deep needs for your financial support! In 2006, Mother Mariam created a hospice for 6 in-patients with serious chronic or end-stage illnesses to be cared for ‘round the clock’, and brilliantly planned a nursing school as an adjunct, not only to staff the hospice, but to teach young women valuable occupational skills and specific hospice and rehabilitative training. The home care program has been a natural offshoot of the hospice program.
With your generous support, patients can continue to have access to dialysis, insulin, antibiotics, painkillers and blood pressure medicines. As well, patients who are at home with multiple needs after hospitalization, will be able to have nurses visit them daily, who can provide nutrition, medicines, injections, chemotherapy, even washing and cleaning. Patients who need artificial feeding with a probe or need wound and ulcer care with iodine and bandages, will continue to be attended to.
The Mercy Center Nursing School, attached to the Hospice, accepts low-income young women, interested in this career opportunity, and provides free tuition to 12 young students per year for a 2-year course in general nursing with specialty in palliative, rehabilitation and hospice care.
The Mercy Center Home Care Program currently cares for 55 frail elders, with over 100 patients cared for in the course of an average year. Graduate nurses and students visit elders in their own homes, supplementing family care, or providing the only care that elders with no family receive, allowing them to ‘age in place’ or recuperate from falls, illnesses or surgery safely and comfortably, or to transition, for more support, to hospice care.

A classroom of the Nursing School

A classroom of the Nursing School

AFG funds have been used to support these three closely linked programs, The MercyCenter Hospice, Nursing School and Home Care Program, in the following ways:

• Original support for the construction of the hospice and nursing school, and nursing instructors’ fees
• Nursing salaries for graduates of the Mercy Center Nursing school, who have gone on to work at this hospice and home care program
• Patient supplies and medicines like insulin, antibiotics, painkillers, and personal care items dressings for wounds, and incontinence supplies for both hospice and home care
• Transportation expenses for home care nurses
• Utilities and heating fees for the hospice
BUT, these AFG funds will run out by the end of November! Your help is crucial to
continuing the work of the Mercy Hospice programs so vital to the support for Georgians at the end of their lives, as well as to the young nurses who are providing them with competent and compassionate care. Your generous donation will help patients suffer less and not suffer alone.

     Please give as generously as you can, as soon as you can! $72,000 is needed to keep this miraculous program going for another year.

Chronically ill patient who had little access to medicine causing permanent damage and is now at Mercy Center Hospice

Chronically ill patient who had little access to medicine causing permanent damage and is now at Mercy Center Hospice

     We are very sad to lose one of our great supporters, Princess Irina Bagration, and we are touched and grateful that she donated $15,000 to AFG in her will as well as her husband’s historic papers for AFG to give to the Georgian National Parliamentary Library. As a substantial proportion of the $72,000 we are making a plea for, this sort of legacy donation is so very important and appreciated.

My warmest wishes to you and your families as we start this holiday season.


Marusya Chavchavadze
Executive Director