Memorial wins national award for end-of-life and palliative care efforts


Contacts: Shannon Dininny, Memorial Communications, 509.577.5051; Elizabeth Lietz, American Hospital Association, 202.626.2284

Memorial earns prestigious national award recognizing end-of-life care efforts

YAKIMA – Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital has been named a 2014 Circle of Life Award winner for its comprehensive programs to improve the care of patients near the end of life or with life-limiting conditions – one of just three honorees in the country.

The Circle of Life Award celebrates innovative programs that have made great strides in palliative and end-of-life care across the nation. In its 15th year, the Circle of Life Award is presented annually by the American Hospital Association.

Memorial operates a hospice house, Cottage in the Meadow, which was made possible through generous community support, and offers a largely volunteer-driven Transitions palliative care program that serves more than 200 patients each year in their homes. Monthly community talks provide guidance on various subjects, such as living wills and advance directives, coping with grief during the holidays and addressing special needs of veterans, and Memorial’s outreach programs work to build dialogue within our multicultural Yakima Valley about end-of-life issues.

“There’s a movement in this community to better respond to the needs and wishes of our loved ones as they approach end of life or face advanced illnesses. We value our role in this effort and will continue to help facilitate these conversations,” said Anne Caffery, president of The Memorial Foundation. “Our goal has always been for Cottage in the Meadow to belong to this community, and Cottage is just a snippet of the programs and services this award recognizes. We’re grateful to be recognized.”

Memorial was chosen by a selection committee made up of leaders from medicine, nursing, social work, ethics and health administration. The committee recognized Memorial for its efforts to provide palliative and end-of-life care programs throughout the Memorial Family of Services and to actively identify and work to meet community needs, including the needs of low-income and ethnically-diverse individuals. The committee also noted Transitions palliative care, fully funded by The Memorial Foundation, as a product of visionary leadership and strong community partnerships that offers a patient- and family-centered approach with extraordinary spiritual care and creative use of volunteers.

“This award is recognition of our staff, our many volunteers and our community as a whole. More and more, our community is engaging in the conversation about end-of-life and palliative care – what it looks like, who can benefit and how everyone should live the life they want to the end,” Memorial Vice President Diane Patterson said. “We’re thrilled to have our community so honored.”

The 2014 Circle of Life Award honorees will receive Circle of Life crystals commemorating their achievements at the AHA-Health Forum Leadership Summit Monday, July 21, in San Diego. Recognized with Memorial will be Baylor Health Care System Supportive and Palliative Care Services in Dallas, Texas, and Lehigh Valley Health Network in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

“This year’s Circle of Life honorees have made end-of-life and palliative care a key part of their care mission,” AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock said. “These programs have found new ways to expand the reach of palliative and end-of-life care to patients, families and communities. They are model programs that other hospitals and health care systems can adapt and we are pleased to recognize the great strides they are taking in providing dedicated, compassionate care.”

Upon review, a select number of Circle of Life nominees were visited by the selection committee, including programs that:

  • provide effective, patient- and family-centered, timely, safe, efficient and equitable palliative and end-of-life care;
  • strive to implement the domains of the National Consensus Project Clinical Practice Guidelines for Quality Palliative Care;
  • utilize innovative approaches to critical needs and serve as sustainable, replicable models for the field;
  • seek to 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;
  • work with other health care organizations, education and training programs and the community.

The 2014 awards are supported, in part, by the California HealthCare Foundation and the Cambia Health Foundation. Major sponsors are the American Hospital Association, the Catholic Health Association, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the National Hospice Foundation. The awards are cosponsored by the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association, the National Board for Certification of Hospice and Palliative Nurses and the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Foundation, and the National Association of Social Workers. The Circle of Life Award is a program administered by the Health Research and Educational Trust.

 About Memorial

Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital is a 226-bed, acute-care, not-for-profit, community hospital serving Central Washington’s Yakima Valley. Memorial Family of Services includes primary care practices and specialty care services, including high-quality cardiac care, a continuum of cancer care, hospice care and advanced services for children with special health care needs. Visit Memorial online at or on Facebook (, Twitter ( or Pinterest ( The Memorial Foundation has raised and distributed $45 million toward innovative health care programs in the Yakima Valley (

About AHA

The AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the improvement of health in their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which include nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks and other providers of care. 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 website at


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