Press Release

Programs Bring Innovation to Palliative and End-of-Life Care

Three programs that expand the reach of palliative and end-of-life care were recognized as the 2007 recipients of the Circle of Life Award®: Celebrating Innovation in End-of-Life Care, along with five others that were awarded citations of honor.

Covenant Hospice in Pensacola, Fla.; University of California San Francisco Palliative Care Program in San Francisco; and Woodwell: A Program of Presbyterian SeniorCare and Family Hospice and Palliative Care in Oakmont, Pa. will each receive a monetary award of $10,000 at a ceremony on July 23 in San Diego.

"The Circle of Life Award celebrates programs across the nation that have made great strides in palliative and end-of-life care," said AHA President & CEO Rich Umbdenstock.  "These programs share overriding themes of compassion and dedication and find new ways to expand the reach of palliative and hospice services and to help mesh traditional medical care with good end-of-life care. They provide excellent models any community can adapt."

This is the eighth year for the Circle of Life Award.  The awards, supported by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, are sponsored by the American Hospital Association in conjunction with the American Medical Association, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging.

Citations of Honor were awarded to Baylor University Medical Center, Palliative Care and Clinical Ethics Consultation Service in Dallas, a hospital-based program with unique, and effective, linkages among the palliative care and ethics teams and the outpatient geriatrics program; Broadway House for Continuing Care in Newark, N.J. a program for HIV and AIDS patients that has an extremely effective pain management approach and responds to patient needs through both ancient and modern approaches to physical, emotional and spiritual healing; George Mark Children's House in San Leandro, Calif., a resource for families with seriously ill children providing transitional, respite and end-of-life care to children who need skilled nursing; Haven Hospice in Gainesville, Fla., a program that has recognized and embraced the concept that quality improvement and customer service are essential in an evolving, quality-focused health care world; and Nathan Adelson Hospice in Las Vegas, Nev., for its strong strategic planning, service to anyone regardless of their ability to pay and extensive education to community members and professional caregivers.

Highlights of the Circle of Life Award programs

Covenant Hospice - Pensacola, Fla.
Covenant Hospice blends strong leadership skills, sophisticated business practices and a compassionate hospice philosophy as it serves both rural and urban communities in Northwest Florida and Southern Alabama.  They have a strong educational component and invest in their people - from trustees to volunteers to front-line caregivers to support staff.  Everyone receives education, empowerment and encouragement.  Quality of patient care is a top priority and Covenant uses information technology to track patient care and outcomes.  It also develops protocols by teams from throughout the organization which are adaptable to the different locations and organizational cultures throughout the diverse area the hospice serves. 
University of California San Francisco Palliative Care Program - San Francisco
With an open attitude and a commitment to research and sharing what it's learned, the palliative care team at the University of California San Francisco has created one of the leading programs in the country. Drawing extensively from work with hospitalists, UCSF has a truly collaborative end-of-life care team and uses the skills of all its members to provide the most appropriate care for each patient. And it is having an enormous impact on medical education and the next generation of health care providers learning about palliative care. UCSF's program has not only grown within its own hospital but is now providing training for other hospitals starting palliative care programs.  While research and mentoring are key components of the UCSF program, the basis remains dedication to patients.

Woodwell: A Program of Presbyterian SeniorCare and Family Hospice and Palliative Care - Oakmont, Pa.
Woodwell is a successful partnership that has taken the lead in providing top quality palliative and end-of-life care in a long-term care setting. They have created a flexible culture focused on person-centered care.  The hospice and long-term care network are true partners in developing the program and working toward seamless delivery of care. Pain management and palliative care is provided not only to residents who qualify for or choose hospice but to all residents who could benefit. Hospice team members are on site at all times, working closely with nursing staff on pain and symptom management and with families on end-of-life planning and other aspects of palliative care.

This year, about 40 nominations were received and reviewed by a selection committee that included leaders from medicine, nursing, social work and health administration.  The committee looked for programs that respect patient goals and preferences, provide comprehensive care, acknowledge and address the family or caregivers' concerns and needs, and build systems and mechanisms of support that will ensure that the programs continue.  The programs selected serve as innovative models for other communities.  For more information on the Circle of Life Award, visit

About the AHA

The AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which include nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks, other providers of care and 43,000 individual members. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit the AHA website at

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