Newswise — By the late 1970s, as cancer rates continued to grow and the AIDS epidemic was only a few years away, there was a growing need to provide palliative care and comfort for terminally ill people and their families in the Chicago region.
In 1978, Horizon Hospice became the first hospice in Chicago when it admitted its first patient. Just 10 years later, Horizon was serving 109 patients annually by the time the AIDS crisis was taking its toll, and it would continue to grow to about 2,000 patients by 2013 regardless of their ability to pay. In 2015, it merged with two suburban hospices to form Journey Care Hospice and Palliative Care.
To celebrate the unique role Horizon Hospice played in the city and to share its history with researchers, officials have donated its archives to the University of Illinois at Chicago, which will house them in the Library of the Health Sciences-Chicago Special Collections and University Archives. An opening celebration to announce the donation will be held by invitation. Speaking will be Dr. Michael Preodor, the hospice’s first medical director.
Wednesday, Jan. 29
5 – 7 p.m.
Library of the Health Sciences-Chicago
Special Collections and University Archives
1750 W. Polk St., 3rd floor
In addition to being the first hospice in Chicago, Horizon Hospice helped found the Illinois State Hospice Organization, which helped pass the Illinois Hospice Licensing Law in 1983.
AIDS patients were a particular focus for the hospice, and in 1992 it partnered with Chicago House, a residential center that provided patients with end-of-life care. Another focus for the hospice was children and led to the formation in 2004 of “All About Kids,” its pediatric hospice and palliative care program. Bereavement assistance was essential to its services for families and through its “BraveHeart” program served grieving children in schools in underserved neighborhoods.
The doctors and nurses worked with trained volunteers to serve the patient and the caregivers. Since they knew that death was a family affair, the involvement of the family and friends helped the survivors as much as the patients.
In 2012, the hospice established the Ada F. Addington Inpatient Hospice Unit at Rush University Medical Center, named after one of Horizon’s four founders.
“Horizon Hospice is an excellent example of how citizens can invent a better way to deliver services to the community that is more effective and less expensive,” said Joan Flanagan, a founding board member, and longtime patient care volunteer.
“Starting from a board of eight people, Horizon, with the support of smart grant makers and individual donors, could create a model for end-of-life care that was more patient-controlled and patient-oriented, could involve the entire family of caregivers so they had a better experience and greatly reduced expenses,” said Flanagan.
The Horizon Hospice records include 28 linear feet of organizational and operating records, annual reports, correspondence, photographs and demographic information, said Megan Keller Young, special collections librarian. She said the collection will be of interest to students, staff and non-UIC researchers with an interest in the history of palliative and hospice care in Chicago. In addition, a large portion of fundraising correspondence is available which would be of interest to people looking into nonprofit philanthropy.
She and her graduate assistant, Lauren Janik said that as they were preparing the collection, they were stirred by the founders’ priorities as they were creating the hospice: to provide pain control, give the patient the opportunity to control the rest of their life, prevent patients from dying alone, prepare the patient’s family and the patient for end-of-life and to provide an environment so the patient may die at home if they wished. “We are both moved by the passion and fortitude of the hospice personnel,” said Keller Young.