University Health earned national recognition for its innovation in expanding end-of-life and palliative care across the continuum of care and positively impacting the lives of patients and their families going through very difficult times. The dedicated and compassionate palliative care team was honored to receive the 2019 Circle of Life Award from the American Hospital Association (AHA). This prestigious award celebrates those pioneering organizations who are leading the way to improve and grow this critically important service.
University Health’s work “represents the most innovative and creative thinking in end-of-life care,” said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack. He also cited how the program “raised the bar for meeting the needs of patients and their families” through the “use of technology, integrated systems of care and community support.”
University Health’s Palliative Care team offers an integrated inpatient and outpatient community-based program serving adults, adolescents and children across 22 counties. With a strong population health ethic as a guide, the program makes a particular effort to reach underserved, rural and immigrant patients. It also includes a partnership with Promotores to serve undocumented patients and families, as well as people experiencing homelessness. Additional partnerships with UT Health San Antonio and the Department of Veterans Affairs demonstrate a strong commitment to education through a medical fellowship in palliative care.
The AHA is a nonprofit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to improving health in their communities. Its members include nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks, other providers of care and 43,000 individual members. A selection committee including leaders from medicine, nursing, social work and health administration reviewed Circle of Life Award® nominations.
Cosponsors of the Circle of Life Award® include:
• American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
• National Association of Social Workers
• Center to Advance Palliative Care
• Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association
• Hospice and Palliative Credentialing Center
• Hospice and Palliative Nurses Foundation