‘Living Life to its fullest’

Mary K. Sheehan, CEO
Joliet Area Community Hospice (JACH) celebrates 35 years of providing care to our local communities. It all began in 1982 with the combined efforts of the then Saint Joseph Medical Center, Silver Cross Hospital and several community groups and individuals who had a vision of bringing first class hospice care to Will and surrounding counties. JACH was the first hospice established in the area and opened the first free-standing hospice home in the State of Illinois in 2004. We now serve eight Illinois counties.

Last year was a year of tremendous growth for JACH, which has continued this year. We admitted 1,418 patients in 2016, a 22% increase from 2015. Our average daily census (number of patients we care for in a day) increased from 131 in 2015 to 186 in 2016, a 42% increase. Currently, we care for over 250 patients per day in their homes and facilities in addition to patients in our Hospice Home. We hired over 60 staff and now have 140 employees and over 290 volunteers.

Despite our growth, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization reported that 36% of hospice patients were with hospice less than 7 days. The disappointing part of that is when asked, most people say they want to die at home. The Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance Hospice Benefit is a six month benefit and yet patients are often admitted so late. It is also interesting to note that only 35% of patients in hospice had a cancer diagnosis. The majority of hospice patients are living with end stage heart and lung disease, dementia, end stage kidney disease and neurological conditions like Parkinson’s or stroke. Hospice is a philosophy of care but most importantly it is about living life to its fullest. Entering hospice care does NOT mean giving up your current provider, current medications or current therapy. We work together to provide what is important to you as well as comfort, dignity and quality patient care.

This anniversary supplement will help educate you about the services we provide, the importance of advanced directives and the role of hospice and palliative care. I encourage you to call anytime you are wondering about how to help yourself or a family member through a serious illness. You can reach us at 815-740-4104.

Our focus is to continue providing compassionate, quality patient care

The word “Hospice” was used centuries ago in the medieval times to denote a place for weary travelers to receive rest and comfort on their journey. Today we use the same word “hospice” for care given to patients as they reach the final days of the journey we call life.  Joliet Area Community Hospice (JACH), a partner of United Way Will and Grundy Counties, has been serving the community since 1982. We are a not-for-profit hospice, community based, state licensed and Medicare/Medicaid certified.  More than 25,000 people have received care through JACH since 1982.

Since our beginning in a small office on Hammes Avenue in Joliet, JACH has been providing comprehensive, holistic, support services to the terminally ill, their care givers and loved ones without regard to economic status to enable the dying person to live peacefully, in comfort and with dignity to the last moment of life.  With the support of a generous community, JACH built the first free standing 16-bed Hospice Home at 250 Water Stone Circle, Joliet, and also serves patients in their homes, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and the hospital. Hospice care covers the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of people with advanced illness, and provides bereavement care for loved ones.

As we celebrate our 35th year, our focus is to continue providing compassionate, quality patient care in eight Illinois Counties: Will, Grundy, Kendall, Livingston, LaSalle, and parts of Kankakee, DuPage and Southern Cook. We serve over 1,400 patients a year. In the past two years alone, JACH provided $1.2 million in charity care, community bereavement programs, unreimbursed pediatric hospice and palliative care, and community outreach.  Healthcare has changed over the past 35 years and more people are learning the benefits of hospice and choosing it for their loved ones. Quality end-of-life care isn’t about how you die; it’s about how you live. Contact Joliet Area Community Hospice for more information about hospice and palliative care. Call us at 815-740-4104 or visit our website at joliethospice.org.

To Learn more about Joliet Area Community Hospice click here.

View the entire Joliet Area Community Hospice 35th Anniversary publication below!