The Boards of Directors from Stillwater Hospice and Kosciusko Home Care and Hospice announced the two organizations have combined as one effective March 1, 2023.
Both organizations began in a very similar way with a group of women coming together. Stillwater Hospice began in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1888 and was known then as the Ladies’ Relief Union. In 1984, Stillwater Hospice, known then as Visiting Nurse Service and Hospice, was the third agency in Indiana to receive the Medicare Hospice Benefit certification.
Kosciusko Home Care and Hospice had its start in 1976 when eight local nurses came together to support patients who needed care in their homes. Six years later, hospice services were also added as a service provided by Kosciusko Home Care and Hospice. Together, Stillwater Hospice and Kosciusko Home Care and Hospice have more than 180 years of experience caring for Hoosier patients and families.
Both organizations are nonprofit and community-based, providing specialized palliative, hospice and grief support services. As a combined organization, Stillwater Hospice serves 12 counties in northern Indiana including Adams, Allen, Blackford, DeKalb, Grant, Huntington, Jay, Kosciusko, Noble, Wabash, Wells and Whitley counties. Stillwater Hospice offices will continue to operate in Berne, Fort Wayne, Marion and Warsaw.
“We have been providing palliative care and hospice services to residents of Kosciusko County for many years through our relationships with area hospitals, and we are glad to further expand our depth of offerings by welcoming the Kosciusko Home Care and Hospice team to the Stillwater Hospice family,” said Stillwater Hospice CEO Leslie Friedel.
In coming together as one organization Stillwater Hospice said it will ensure Kosciusko County will continue to have local community members serving as hospice caregivers and an intentional plan for providing services into the future. According to the two organizations, the decision to enter into this partnership was made after consideration by Kosciusko Home Care and Hospice leadership and after a thorough review of available options and opportunities. As Kosciusko Home Care and Hospice leadership looked into the future, they identified that a purposeful partnership was necessary for such services to remain nonprofit and community-based in Kosciusko County.
In 2022, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) released a report that indicated the number of hospice providers continues to increase year over year; however, the number of nonprofit hospice organizations continues to decrease.
As reported by the Medicare Payment Advisory Committee (MedPAC) in the March 2022 Report to Congress, between 2019 and 2020, the number of for-profit hospices continued to increase (7.1% since 2019), while the number of nonprofit hospices decreased by 2.8 % and government-owned hospices declined by 0.7%. As of 2020, more than 72% of hospices were for profit, approximately 24% were nonprofit and just under 3% were government owned.
Nonprofit hospice organizations like Stillwater Hospice and Kosciusko Home Care and Hospice provide mission services such as community grief support, music therapy, massage therapy, and palliative care, and they also have resources such as Stillwater Hospice’s Hospice Home located in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Hospice Home is northeast Indiana’s only free-standing inpatient Hospice unit. Since opening in 2001, Hospice Home has served more than 10,000 patients ranging in age from infancy to 104.
“It has been a blessing to have the opportunity to meet with Stillwater Hospice staff and board leadership and to see the alignment of our shared values and goals," said Glenn Hall, executive director of Kosciusko Home Care and Hospice. "I look forward to helping to shepherd this transition with such like-hearted leadership to ensure Kosciusko residents can access such critical and compassionate care."
Those interested in learning more about Stillwater Hospice’s services, volunteer roles and career opportunities can visit Stillwater-Hospice.org or can call 800-288-4111.