Going Above and Beyond to Serve Our Community
During the 1990s, more and more patients and families sought the services of Hospice of Central Ohio.
Volunteers and generous community organizations held special events to support patient care and services that went above and beyond what was covered by the Medicare Hospice Benefit. Annual fundraisers including Light Up a Life and a golf outing began.
As the staff expanded, the first office space was acquired on West Main Street in Newark. As the organization continued to grow, The Selma Markowitz Care Center was opened in February 1997 within Licking Memorial Hospital. In addition, the annual children’s bereavement camp, Camp HOCO, began in 1997 to assist children in managing their grief.
Many patient and family needs fall outside what is covered by the Medicare Hospice Benefit and traditional insurance. Throughout the years, hospice volunteers and generous community organizations held special events and campaigns to support patient care and services. One of our most enduring fundraising events is Light Up a Life. This event began in 1990 with brightly decorated Christmas trees at Indian Mound Mall in Heath, Ohio. Visitors were invited to make a donation and add a paper dove that they personalized with the name of a loved one. Since then, the Christmas tree display has moved to Wilson’s Garden Center in Newark, Ohio, and the tradition continues. The event serves as a time of reflection for those who have lost loved ones.
In 1992, to accommodate the growing organization, office space was acquired at 1435 W. Main St. in Newark. The clinical staff was reorganized into two teams and a satellite office was opened in Pataskala to better serve patients. The growth included a variety of clinical and support staff in addition to more than 40 volunteers who visited patients and provided office support.
As part of our mission, we have always championed every patient’s right to receive care in the setting they call home. In January 1993, the first nursing home patient was admitted as a resident. We changed our name to Hospice of Central Ohio in 1994 to better reflect our expanded services to communities in eight surrounding counties.
Upon the retirement of Jim Moss, the board of directors appointed Michele Layman as president and CEO. Under Michele’s leadership, The Joint Commission for Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations granted Hospice Deemed Status for Accreditation and full accreditation with commendation was achieved in 1997. During that same year, we served our 2,000th patient. At Hospice of Central Ohio, Michele transformed the organization from a small, local agency providing supportive care to a state-recognized hospice organization.
In February 1997 we opened The Selma Markowitz Care Center, staffed and operated by the hospice care team, in the Licking Memorial Hospital. The care center offered respite care, offering short-term stays to provide relief for caregivers, and symptom management. The center included seven private patient rooms, a full bath, a family kitchen and lounge areas for a home-like atmosphere.
In the late 1990’s, the annual children’s bereavement camp, Camp HOCO, began. The five-day camp was designed to assist children in the development of coping skills to help them manage their grief now and into the future. Hospice of Central Ohio continues to be known for grief support services that go above and beyond what is required by Medicare and Medicaid and are available to the community at no charge, thanks to generous support from the community.