Hosparus expands services beyond hospice care

In response to the ever-changing health care needs of the community, Hosparus is expanding its home-based services beyond traditional hospice care to include palliative and advanced illness care for both adults and children, serving more patients and families than ever before. On March 17, the organization will rebrand as Hosparus Health to demonstrate its commitment to providing comprehensive, person-centered care and family support for those facing serious illness.

Hosparus Health has been providing compassionate hospice care since 1978, when it was founded by a small group of volunteers as Hospice of Louisville. Since then, the organization has grown to include almost 500 employees and more than 700 volunteers, serving nearly 7,000 patients and families a year in 33 counties in Kentucky and Indiana. The combined, enhanced service offerings under Hosparus Health are expected to provide an increased awareness of advanced illness management for the entire community, resulting in hundreds more families engaging in quality palliative and hospice care for longer periods of time.

As the incidence of serious and chronic disease increases, especially as the baby boomers age, Hosparus Health recognized the need to expand its services beyond hospice care to include adult palliative and advanced illness care. Palliative care is designed to meet the growing health care needs of vulnerable populations through specialized care coordination for patients of all ages with serious illnesses.

Unlike hospice, palliative care is not limited by a patient’s life expectancy and can be provided at any stage of an illness. The interdisciplinary care teams the community has come to rely upon for hospice care will also be part of the new adult palliative care services offered by Hosparus Health through its first-ever private-pay program, currently being piloted in Louisville. The teams include physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, certified nursing assistants, social workers, therapists, chaplains, volunteers and grief counselors. Hosparus Health is modeling the adult program on Kourageous Kids, its successful pediatric palliative and hospice care program that has been serving children since 1980. By engaging in expanded palliative care services, Hosparus Health believes patients will experience improved quality of life as well as better management of the distressing symptoms that often accompany serious illness, well before the end of life.

Hosparus Health has hired Denise Gloede as Executive Director of Palliative Care to oversee both the pediatric and adult programs, and Lori Earnshaw, M.D., to lead patient care in the adult palliative program. Additional clinical staff will be added as the program grows. In the first year of the palliative care pilot, Hosparus Health expects to serve about 100 adults. Hosparus Health is also in the planning stages to offer palliative care pilots in service areas outside of metro Louisville, but no launch dates have been set.

Hosparus Health will continue to build upon its core business of hospice care, which is specialized care for patients who suffer from terminal illnesses with a documented life expectancy of six months or less. Hospice care promotes quality of life by ensuring patient comfort, and providing physical, psychosocial, emotional and spiritual support. Hosparus Health expects to remain the provider of choice for hospice care, offering compassionate care for patients and families at the end of life.

“The name Hosparus means, ‘We guide our guests.’ That’s just what we have been doing for almost 40 years, guiding our guests toward the end of their lives with dignity and respect,” said Hosparus Health President and CEO Phil Marshall. “Our mission remains the same, ‘to improve the quality of life,’ but our new vision embodies the goal of optimal living for those dealing with a serious or life-limiting illness.  We truly believe that the earlier you call, the more we can help.”