Circles of Influence 2001

Highlights of the Continuing Journey of Past Circle of Life Winners

Organization:  Department of Pain Medicine and Palliative Care, Beth Israel Medical Center, New York, NY.  The program was cited for creation of a Department of Pain Medicine and Palliative Care equal to other medical departments; integration of a certified hospice program as a resource for end-of-life care within a broader model of palliative care; multiple sites of care; specialized programs for cancer, sickle cell, and HIV and a drop-in palliative care program; Institute for Education and Research in pain management and palliative care; and comprehensive web site ( with resources for caregivers and physicians.

Achievements since Circle of Life Recognition:  More than 1,000 inpatients are referred for consultation annually, and more than 600 hospice patients are managed in the inpatient unit.  It has a strong interdisciplinary team focus, inpatient consultation service, 20-bed inpatient unit, and outpatient Support and Palliative Care Practice, in addition to education and training programs for professionals in diverse disciplines. Programs have been developed with critical care medicine, the emergency department, the Asian Services Center, family medicine, and hospital medicine. The department has continued its education focus with two accredited physician fellowships, nurse practitioner and social worker fellowships, and internship placements for music therapists, chaplains, and pharmacists. The department has brought in additional physicians, a psychologist, and a PharmD.  The program also offers a dedicated website for caregivers,

The DPMPC maintains a Research Division, which conducts numerous clinical trial and observational studies.  Current studies include development and testing the effectiveness of a systems-based quality improvement intervention to enhance symptom management for underserved ethnic Chinese cancer patients in community-based oncology practices in New York City and validation of a chart and key informant audit tool for measuring the quality of care of dying inpatients using a tracer methodology.  Prior work evaluated a clinical pathway to guide uniform treatment of dying patients and studies to create and validate a Brief Assessment Scale for Caregivers.

Award Impact:  The Circle of Life Award is credited with increasing the department’s stature and visibility in the institution.  It is seen as one event that established the program as cutting edge and worthy of support.

The monies were added to an education fund.

Organization:  Called Palliative CareCenter & Hospice of the North Shore when it received the Circle of Life Award (and later renamed Midwest Palliative & Hospice CareCenter in 2005 before becoming part of a three-way merger in 2015 resulting in the agency now known as JourneyCare) has headquarters in Glenview, IL. Innovation highlights in 2001 included home palliative care consultations, telephone case management for patients not in home care or hospice, home care assistant service, in-home therapy services and hospice that serves both adults and children.

Recent Achievements: In 2015, three non-profit, community-based hospice and palliative care organizations Horizon Hospice and Palliative Care, JourneyCare and Midwest Palliative & Hospice CareCenter merged to form a new organization, JourneyCare, to provide greater services to more patients and families across 10 counties in the Chicago area and northern Illinois.

In September 2015, JourneyCare was chosen as one of the nation’s 11 Palliative Care Leadership Centers (PCLC) to provide customized, intensive operational training and year-long mentoring to palliative care programs, with a focus on those in community-based settings.

JourneyCare was also selected as one of 141 hospice providers in the United States to participate in the Medicare Care Choices Model that allows qualified Medicare patients to concurrently receive hospice benefits along with curative treatments.

Today, JourneyCare provides care and support to 3,000 patients and families each day, and remains committed to both adult and pediatric hospice and palliative care, as well as innovative therapies and specialized programs such as Jewish Care Services and We Honor Veterans.

Thanks to the coming together of the three legacy organizations, JourneyCare now offers a wider range of integrative therapies that include art, music, massage and pet therapies, along with music-thanatology. JourneyCare employs three of the just over 100 trained music-thanatologists in the world who provide customized music vigils featuring harp and voice for patients at end-of-life and their families, with music based on each patient’s vital signs, such as heart rate and respiration patterns.

JourneyCare offers world-class facilities including five Hospice CareCenters designed especially for people whose pain and other symptoms require short-tem, around-the-clock medical oversight. Each inpatient CareCenter is spacious and looks and feels like home.

We continue to serve patients and families through extensive hospital partnerships, such as one with Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, that allow our organization to provide hospice care to their patients. We also have cultivated palliative care partnerships with both Northwest Community Hospital and Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital.

Award Impact: The Circle of Life Award continues to enhance community awareness and motivates the organization to expand its efforts to develop innovative solutions to meet the growing needs of those living with serious illness in the communities we serve.

Staff, grant making organizations and the general public recognize the prestige pf The Circle of Life Award, and how that reflects on JourneyCare overall. As a recipient of the award, we continue to receive requests to share lessons learned in developing palliative care. Both domestic and international healthcare professionals have visited our offices to learn more about our programs. We also are receiving more requests from community organizations for JourneyCare speakers to talk about end-of-life and palliative care related topics.

Organization: Compassionate Care Focus, St. Joseph’s Manor, Trumbull, CT   The Compassionate Care Focus Group first met in 1997—a multidisciplinary, institution-wide effort at improving end-of-life care in the long-term care facility.  Innovation highlights noted were a special end-of-life symbol on residents’ doors, emphasis on avoiding disruptive hospitalization at end of life, amenities for grieving families, and intensive staff involvement in procedural changes.

Recent Achievements:  The organization has been in flux in recent years, with change in ownership in 2006.  Although the policies are still in place, the focus group no longer meets.

Award Impact:  St. Joseph’s Manor was the first long-term care facility to receive the Circle of Life Award.  And people who work in a nursing home receive very little positive reinforcement from society.  For those reasons, the award recognizing their work as nationally innovative had a tremendous impact on staff morale.  The crystal is still displayed in the lobby.

Funds were used to strengthen the patient and family orientation of the program—a bellcart for transporting belongings, angels to mark doors of dying patients, sleeper chairs for each nursing unit, new colored jersey sheets, and a double swing for the home’s orchard that would accommodate a wheelchair.

St. Joseph’s Manor staff spoke about its program at the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, Catholic Health Association of the United States, and Carmelite Sisters and articles were written for the journal of the National Association of Catholic Chaplains and the Catholic Health Association’s Health Progress (with a sidebar article on the Circle of Life Award).  Long-term care facilities consulted by phone with St. Joseph’s for information about how the program developed.

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The Circle of Life Awards: Celebrating Innovation in Palliative and End-of-Life Care gratefully acknowledge the support of the following organizations.