Newswise — PHILADELPHIA – Penn Wissahickon Hospice and Caring Way received the Circle of Life® award from the American Hospital Association (AHA) for expanding the reach of innovative palliative and end-of-life care to the community. Penn was among three programs nationwide to receive this honor, along with Arizona Palliative Home Care Program and Palliative Care and Western Connecticut Health.

The Circle of Life Award®, now in its 19th year, celebrates innovative programs across the nation that have made great strides in palliative and end-of-life care in hopes they can inspire or become models for others. Palliative care aims to improve quality of life for patients and their families who are facing serious illnesses. Multidisciplinary palliative care teams such as Penn’s consider the physical, psychosocial and spiritual needs of each patient to create a personalized care plan that addresses both symptoms and stresses of an illness.

“This year’s honorees demonstrate that the needs of patients and their families can be met in hospitals, at home and in other community settings to ensure that the best possible care is provided across the care spectrum,” said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack. “These innovative programs address critical needs that help patients best manage their health care needs.”

Penn Wissahickon Hospice and Caring Way was honored for its ability to utilize the resources of a comprehensive academic medical center to build a meaningful continuum of care for seriously ill patients. Working in partnership with the Penn Center for Innovation and many of Penn’s clinical departments, the hospice and palliative care service has taken on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart failure, and home care for frail elderly – with innovative technology, precise use of data, and the ability to provide a place for hospice and palliative care in Penn’s underlying academic mission.

“This award is further recognition of our tireless commitment to providing patients with compassionate and intelligent palliative and end-of-life care,” said Joan Doyle, RN, MSN, MBA, executive director of Home Care and Hospice Services. “Our Hospice and Palliative care teams in collaboration with Penn Medicine colleagues, continuously innovate, follow best practices, and look at the latest evidence to advance this critically important care for those they serve.

Penn will receive the award later this month at a ceremony on July 27 in San Diego. 

The 2018 awards are supported, in part, by the California Health Care Foundation, based in Oakland, California and Cambia Health Foundation, based in Portland, Oregon. Major sponsors of the 2018 awards are the American Hospital Association, the Catholic Health Association, and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization & National Hospice Foundation. The awards are cosponsored by The American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, the Center to Advance Palliative Care, the Hospice & Palliative Nurses Association/the Hospice & Palliative Credentialing Center/the Hospice & Palliative Nurses Foundation, and the National Association of Social Workers.

The AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care providers committed to improving health in their communities. For more information on the Circle of Life Award®, visit