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Senior Moment | Ogeechee Area Hospice: Built for the community by the community

The beginning of hospice care can be a challenging and emotional time in a person's -- and their family's -- life. Michele LeBlanc shares the extraordinary work being done by Ogeechee Area Hospice, an oasis of support and care in our community.

Did you know? Did you know? Did you know?

ATTENTION!! Statesboro, Bulloch County and surrounding area residents, I want to share a GREAT word about a very unique community, and that community is Ogeechee Area Hospice right here in Statesboro. This community is more than just people. They are friends and family. That is what makes their community special and why Ogeechee Area Hospice chooses to be your Community Hospice.

The GOAL of hospice care is to prioritize comfort, quality of life, and individual wishes; how comfort is defined is up to each individual. This can include physical, emotional, spiritual, and or social needs. OAH says, "We don't only care for our patients' needs. We also care for the family needs. Ogeechee Area Hospice gives back to our community in many ways -- our home care services, inpatient facility, bereavement support, spiritual support, and our volunteer programs.”

Come on in and learn more about all OAH has to offer.

Ogeechee Area Hospice was founded by people in the community. It is the only ‘not-for-profit’ hospice serving Bulloch and surrounding counties and the only hospice in our service area with its very own ‘Inpatient Center.’ Their goal is to improve the quality of life in a care setting the patient and family choose to best meet their needs. They believe this is what sets them apart from the rest. 

Ogeechee Area Hospice is governed by a dedicated 10-member board of directors, each of whom offers their volunteer time and energy to ensure that the not-for-profit mission of exceptional service continues and that OAH's resources are utilized in thoughtful intentions.

Private donations from the community are the main source of income for OAH. Being the only non-profit hospice in the region, they rely on a few fundraisers a year, word of mouth, and testimonials from families in the community who know what a difference Ogeechee Area Hospice has made in their lives of patients.

“The word is continuing to spread our good name, and referrals are one of the most important factors to ensure our hospice community survives," says OAH.

Some Hospice History

In 1994, OAH began in a small house here in Statesboro, serving individuals with life-limiting illnesses and their families in Bulloch, Evans, Candler, Jenkins, Screven, Tattnall, and in the nearest parts of Emmanuel, Bryan, and Effingham counties.

Nancy Bryant, MSN, RN, founded Ogeechee Area Hospice and was Executive Director from 1994-2016 as well as from 2018-2020.

Ogeechee Area Hospice, 1994

“In 2004, we built the first 12-bed Inpatient Facility, and in 2014, we added another 13 beds to our Inpatient Facility making Ogeechee Area Hospice the only 25-bed Inpatient/Residential Facility in our region," said Tinker Lanier, the Donor Relations, Marketing Manager, and Facility Manager of Ogeechee Area Hospice. "All of this was made possible by donations from our wonderful supporters”

Tinker Lanier joined the organization 13 years ago at a request of a former executive director. She told me her relationship with hospice care began long before that. The in-home patient support  that her father received in 2004 proved essential to navigating the last moments of his life. So when given the opportunity to ensure other families continued to receive the same assistance, Tinker said, "I did not hesitate."

Tinker Lanier

Tinker is married to Kelly Lanier for 41 years. They have two sons and two daughters-in-law. Justin and Stephanie Lanier have two daughters, Aiden and Kennedy, and Jacob and Dina Lanier have a daughter, Mae.

Tinker said, "My goal is to continue helping Ogeechee Area Hospice grow as the only community hospice that was ‘built by the community for the community.'”

The OAH Mission & Care Options

Ogeechee Area Hospice exists for the sole purpose of providing expert comfort and bereavement support to persons affected by a life-threatening illness and / or grief. 

Ogeechee Area Hospice has different levels of hospice care:

  • RESPITE CARE: A planned short-term break for family caregivers from the challenges of assisting a loved one with an advanced illness.
  • GENERAL INPATIENT CARE: To control severe pain and symptoms so that the loved one can return home to their family and resume routine Hospice Care at home.
  • ROUTINE HOME CARE: The basic level of hospice care provided in your home.
  • RESIDENTIAL: Care designed to make patients feel as if they were at home. An option for loved ones in advance that they can no longer be cared for at home. this is not covered by Medicare or Medicaid
  • CONTINUOUS HOME CARE: Symptoms unmanaged and choose to stay in their home.
A patient room

Hospice care is 100% covered by Medicare Medicaid and most private insurance plans, and Ogeechee Area Hospice treatments are available to all patients who need Hospice Care, regardless of their insurance coverage or financial situation. OAH does not discriminate against any person based on race, color, national origin, disability, or age in admissions, treatment or participation in programs, services and activities, or in employment.

BEREAVEMENT services are also available. Support for the family of an Ogeechee Area Hospice patient begins before the loss of a loved-one occurs then continues for 13 months afterwards. An important factor in healing is keeping in contact with other people. This might include telephone contact, Support Groups, Memorial and Holiday services, Children's Bereavement Camp (Camp Lily-Welle), Community Grief Support Services, and Mailings.

The OAH Chapel


Hospice volunteers are ordinary people doing something extraordinary, an integral part of the hospice program. Volunteers bring the unique gift of themselves to support the patients and families. It is a simple act of personal care and concern.

Belinda Nelson, Coordinator of Volunteer Services, said, "Our volunteers are a great group of individuals that have answered the call to help others in their time of need. We are ‘blessed’ at Ogeechee Area Hospice to be part of our patients' and families' journey.”

Belinda is a Georgia Southern University Graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Sociology with an emphasis in Social Sciences. Joining OAH in January 2004, she took on the role of Volunteer Coordinator in June 2007. She has served on the Board of Directors for Med Connection since November 2022. She is married, has a daughter who is a sophomore at Southeast Bulloch High School and a son, who is a sophomore at Georgia College in Milledgeville.

Belinda Nelson

She said she has learned so much about the end of Life Care while working in hospice. She was even able to use these skills when taking care of her father several years ago.

“We are seeking volunteers to help at our Inpatient Facility, greeting our visitors, answering phones, directing guests to facilities and also interested in providing caring presents to patients in our assisted living facilities, as well as Inpatient Homes. If anyone is interested in volunteering, they can contact me at 912-489-0506 or [email protected]:”

All volunteers must complete is a screening process and volunteer orientation classes

Belinda said one of her favorite quotes that she uses a lot is that, "Volunteers do not necessarily have the time, they just have the heart.” (Elizabeth Andrew)

And oh yes…I can't forget their FUNDRAISERS!

Even if you aren't able to volunteer right now, you can check out these upcoming fundraisers to do your part in supporting OAH.

Community Chicken Dinner: Friday, November 3, 2023 from 11am-2pm

  • $10.00 per plate
  • 1/2 chicken, green beans, corn on the cob, and dessert

    Treat yourself and your family (home or work). YUMMY!!
Buy your chicken dinner tickets today!


17th Tree Lighting Ceremony and Celebration

  • Thursday,  November 30,2023
  • Program at 6:30pm 

Bring on the Holiday Spirit!


Now you have the answers to the ’Did you Know?' Ogeechee Area Hospice is a COMMUNITY hospice with LOTS of options.

Making this a valuable Senior Moment!