Press Release

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

WASHINGTON (July 21, 2015) — Two programs that expand the reach of palliative and end-of-life care will be honored with the 2015 Circle of Life Award: Celebrating Innovation in Palliative and End-of-Life Care. 

The programs share overriding themes of embedding palliative care throughout the health care continuum and reaching out to traditionally underserved communities. Care Dimensions in Danvers, Mass. is the winner of this year’s Circle of Life Award. Hospice of Frederick County in Frederick, Md., will receive a Citation of Honor.   

The honors will be presented at a ceremony on July 24 in San Francisco. 

“This year’s Circle of Life honorees have made great strides in expanding the reach of palliative and end-of-life care,” said AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock. “These organizations have found new ways to work with hospitals and health systems to ensure all patients receive a range of services specific to their individual needs. They are strong partnerships that provide models for collaboration between hospices and hospitals and health care systems. We are pleased to recognize the dedicated, compassionate care they give to their communities.” 

Highlights of the Circle of Life Award programs

Care Dimensions – Danvers, Mass.

Care Dimensions serves 90 eastern Massachusetts communities and an average 650 hospice patients and 140 palliative care patients each day. It provides care in a variety of settings including patients’ homes, assisted living facilities, long-term care facilities, hospitals, group homes, veterans’ facilities and an inpatient hospice facility. Care Dimensions provides a broad range of services including hospital consultation services; a program to transition from home care to hospice; an early access program that provides both curative and palliative care at the same time, and dedicated skilled nursing facility and assisted living facility teams. Care Dimensions’ approach to palliative care is tailored to the specific needs of its health care partner institutions and has created a database that its clinicians can access for more information on providers’ communication preferences. Care Dimensions also has culturally sensitive services for lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender patients, as well as outreach programs for developmentally-disabled and homeless patients.

Hospice of Frederick County – Frederick, Md.

Exceptionally strong community partnerships are a highlight of Hospice of Frederick County’s mission. Part of Frederick Regional Health System, the rural-based hospice emphasizes continuity of care, providing a broad range of services to patients in the hospital, long-term care facilities and even at home. It has an effective outreach to traditionally underserved groups, including to minority communities and to deaf patients and volunteers, and a collaborative program with behavioral health services. 

The Circle of Life Award celebrates programs across the nation that have made great strides in palliative and end-of-life care. This is the 16th year for the Circle of Life Award. The 2015 awards are supported, in part, by the California HealthCare Foundation, located in Oakland, Calif., and the Cambia Health Foundation. Major sponsors are the American Hospital Association, the Catholic Health Association and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization/National Hospice Foundation. The awards are cosponsored by the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine; the Hospice & Palliative Nurses Association; the Hospice & Palliative Care Credentialing Center and the Hospice & Palliative Nurses Foundation; and the National Association of Social Workers. The Circle of Life Award is a program administered by the Health Research & Educational Trust.

Circle of Life nominations were received and reviewed by a selection committee that included leaders from medicine, nursing, social work and health administration.

The Circle of Life Award honors palliative programs that:

  • have incorporated the domains of the National Consensus Project Clinical Practice Guidelines for Quality Palliative Care into the structure and functions of their program;
  • provide effective, patient/family-centered, timely, safe, efficient and equitable palliative and end-of-life care;
  • actively partner with other health care organizations, education and training programs, the community, providers of care and insurers; and
  • use metrics that demonstrate value for individuals, families and communities.
  • use innovative approaches to critical needs and serve as sustainable, replicable models for the field;
  • address multi-faceted needs of persons living with serious illness throughout the disease trajectory;
  • demonstrate significant impact on people with life-limiting illness and those around them;


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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