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One Year of JourneyCare, One Year of Achievement

Posted by Sarah Bealles

One Year of JourneyCare, One Year of Achievement

For over 30 years, three nonprofit, community-based hospice agencies separately served parts of 10 counties in the Chicago area and northern Illinois. In June 2015, these organizations combined more than 100 years of experience and expertise to become one: JourneyCare. Today, JourneyCare serves nearly 400 communities in those 10 counties. It’s been one year since we made that announcement ... and what a year it has been!

Nobody said it would be easy, but each day provides us with amazing opportunities to learn and grow while remaining true to our mission: providing exceptional care and support to people facing serious illnesses and their families, helping them to live in comfort and without pain, on their own terms.

The ability to provide a greater depth and breadth of services to more people across a larger region was a driving force behind the merger, and that goal has been realized, as you’ll see below:

  • JourneyCare’s services are available to almost nine million people in nearly 400 communities throughout 10 counties in the Chicago area and northern Illinois.
  • Care and support were provided to nearly 13,000 patients and their families over the last year.
  • Nearly 1,000 employees made it possible for our agency to deliver services wherever and whenever our patients were in need.
  • Our pediatric program, All About Kids, is the largest in the state, providing specialized care and support to 300 pediatric families last year.
  • Over 1,300 dedicated volunteers contributed their time and talents. And they prove that all ages have something to give, as our volunteers range in age from early teens to 103!
  • Specialty programs and services such Jewish Care Services, Veterans Services and integrative therapies (art, music, massage and pet therapies and music-thanantology) are now available throughout the 10 counties we serve.
  • JourneyCare professionals gave nearly 500 educational presentations to 6,000 community members and healthcare professionals.
  • Thanks to the generosity of our community, JourneyCare was able to provide over $3 million in unreimbursed care and services.
  • To enhance our ability to support care and services, we now have five Inpatient Hospice CareCenters.

With healthcare rapidly evolving, JourneyCare has been honored to be selected for two national initiatives that will impact the way care is delivered across the country. Last July, JourneyCare was selected as one of just 141 hospices nationwide to participate in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Medicare Care Choices model. Through JourneyCare Choices, this pilot will offer certain Medicare beneficiaries the option of receiving care management and supportive care from our hospice while also receiving curative treatments.

JourneyCare is also now one of only 15 Palliative Care Leadership Centers in the nation providing intensive, operational training and yearlong mentoring for developing palliative care programs, with a focus on community-based settings.

But our local communities are not the only place JourneyCare is pioneering new methods and ideas for delivering care. Our agency has taken on leadership roles both at home and abroad with several cultural exchanges over the past year.

As part of a Chicago Sister Cities International initiative, The Osaka-Chicago Social Services Exchange, one JourneyCare social worker served as a delegate in a weeklong exchange of cross cultural ideas and best practices. Leaders from Helderberg Hospice in South Africa also traveled to several JourneyCare sites to compare hospice models and share innovative ways to deliver care and services. Most recently, health sciences students from Universidad Panamericana in Mexico joined undergraduate students from Northwestern University for a visit to our Glenview campus, where they heard from clinicians about hospice and palliative care and saw a music-thanatology demonstration.

Yes, it has been a whirlwind of a year, but we are just getting started. One thing will always remain the same: our commitment to providing quality care and support to every patient and family member who needs us, regardless of ability to pay.

We could not have accomplished so much without the ongoing support from members of the community, as well as the dedicated JourneyCare team members who deliver exceptional care and support each and every day. To all, I am so very thankful.

Look to this blog in the weeks and months ahead to keep up-to-date on what’s ahead for JourneyCare. And click here for a chart highlighting our progress over the past year.

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