The goal of hospice, as defined by the Hospice Foundation of America, is “to improve the quality of a patient’s last weeks, days and hours by offering comfort and dignity.” Previously, Hospice of the Tanana Valley (HTV) had provided social, emotional, and practical support to terminally ill patients, their families, and loved ones. Founded in 1988, HTV had a long and distinguished history of providing compassionate care to patients, with a mostly volunteer staff.
After several years of discussion and planning, in 2012 HTV approached The Greater Fairbanks Community Hospital Foundation and Fairbanks Memorial Hospital with a proposal of uniting to create a comprehensive medical hospice program.
“The effort combined the best of volunteer support with the best of clinical care,” said Bob Koslick, former HTV board president.
Mary Johnsen, former HTV executive director, added “While change was difficult, I believe we needed to do this for our community. End-of-life medical problems like pain and anxiety need clinical interventions from hospice trained medical staff. However, the work of volunteers will continue to be essential. Our volunteers freely give the gifts of their time and attention to dying people, because death is not just a medical event, it is a human event.”
“This change was good news for Fairbanks,” said Mike Powers, FMH CEO. “By creating a medical hospice we were able to bring the continuum of medical care full circle. We were very grateful for the opportunity to be able to build on the work of HTV, and to include their staff and volunteers in this new program.”
“The Hospital Foundation has a long history of stepping forward when the Fairbanks healthcare community is in need. From the very first fundraising campaign to build FMH, to today’s effort to provide comprehensive hospice care, our efforts have been in response to requests from our fellow healthcare providers and community members,” said Jeff Cook, President of The Hospital Foundation.
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