Mercy House Story

In 2019, two groups of impassioned and enthusiastic people were working toward a vision of a social model end-of-life home, each unaware of the other.

Elizabeth “Betty” Shuta, a 93-year-old from Vestal, New York, died peacefully in 2019 under the care and supervision of those at Mercy House of the Southern Tier located in Endicott, New York. Prior to her passing, family members had attempted to care for her in her own home but were unable to do so. After several short hospitalizations, a bed opened at Mercy House and she was transferred from the hospital to the home, where she was able to die comfortably, surrounded by attentive staff and her loving family.

Betty’s family was astounded by the level of care and support both she and they received during her time at the home and felt that this type of environment and service should be available elsewhere. Betty’s daughter and other family members had a vision to develop a home, modeled after Mercy House of the Southern Tier, to share this invaluable and meaningful service with others.

While researching end-of-life homes, they were connected to a small group of volunteers in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania who were reorganizing an effort to build a hospice home in the area. Previously operating as Hospice of Franklin County, this group had researched and planned to build an inpatient hospice home. 

With a groundswell of community support and through generous charitable donations, initial efforts to form a 501(c)3 and engage and educate the community were successful. However, complex regulatory restrictions made the original purpose unattainable and the pandemic was in full effect, so the board dissolved the organization to reassess and regroup.

The goal of a social model home was formed, and volunteers were again researching opportunities and visiting sites to determine a path forward. Introduced by the director of Pappus House in York, Pennsylvania, the two groups merged to combine efforts, and Mercy House was launched.