Since 1974, over 4,500 hospice programs have emerged with the goal of easing an individual’s and their family’s final months together. While many of these programs are for profit, some such as Hospicare in Ithaca are run as not for profit organizations. Hospicare is one of the first residential hospice facilities and has a large percentage of volunteer work as part of its operations.
Gifts of the Heart focuses on the stories of the volunteer and their relationships with the patients. The documentary explores their motivation to work in a place that is usually deemed depressing but instead exemplifies the joy of life. Focusing on three volunteers and two staff members, Gifts of the Heart looks at the way volunteer work can impact the lives of patients and volunteers alike, forming bonds that celebrate the relationships that are formed at Hospicare.