First winners announced for end-of-life innovations

Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalist Bill Moyers presented the first checks and awards to three programs that improve the care people receive in the last days of their lives.

The first Circle of Life Awards: Celebrating Innovation in End-of-Life Care were presented at the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) Health Forum Summit in Orlando, FL, in early May. The award, along with a $25,000 check, will be presented annually to up to three programs and is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Princeton, NJ.

The awards are initiated by AHA and co-sponsored by the American Medical Association, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, and the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging.

The winners were Franciscan Health System in Tacoma, WA; The Hospice of the Florida Suncoast in Largo; and Louisiana State Penitentiary Hospice in Angola. "We know the [end-of-life] experience can be much better, and these extraordinary institutions have created models of compassionate care that others can look to for inspiration," says AHA president Dick Davidson.

"This diverse group of awardees demonstrates that good end-of-life care is doable everywhere for everyone," says Meg Campbell, chair of the Circle of Life Awards committee.

Honorary mentions went to six organizations: Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City; Butterfly Program in Galveston, TX; Calvary Hospital in Bronx, NY; Fairview Health Services in Minneapolis; Harry Horvitz Center of the Cleveland Clinic; and San Diego Hospice.