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Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital earns 2014 Circle of Life Award

YAKIMA – Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital is one of only three hospitals in the country to have 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.

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 the 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,” said Anne Caffery, president of The Memorial Foundation. “We value our role in this effort and will continue to help facilitate these conversations.”

Memorial was chosen by a selection committee made up of leaders from medicine, nursing, social work, ethics and health administration.

“This award is recognition of our staff, our many volunteers and our community as a whole,” Memorial Vice President Diane Patterson said. “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.”

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

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