World Hospice and Palliative Care Day is October 13

By David S. Wiley, President & CEO of Kansas City Hospice & Palliative Care

Each October, World Hospice & Palliative Care Day offers the opportunity to speak about end-of-life care in our community. Kansas City Hospice wants to raise awareness and understanding of the needs – medical, social, practical, spiritual – of people living with a life-limiting illness and their families.

We are fortunate to have many volunteers, staff, donors and other supporters helping us provide essential services to the greater Kansas City area.


More than 500 dedicated volunteers work daily to provide comfort, companionship, practical assistance and more. In fact, many of our volunteers have had loved ones in our care. Plus, 30 dedicated members of our Board of Directors (all local) provide their time and talent to our organization. Their dedication to our mission is remarkable.

Expert Staff

We are blessed with more than 350 incredible staff members. Our staff take great pride in delivering exceptional care and support to nearly 500 patients daily. These amazing people embody the spirit of our mission and demonstrate what it means to bring expert, compassionate end-of-life care to patients and families. We held our first-ever employee giving campaign last month. At that time, employees donated more than $25,000 right back to our organization. They are compassionate and incredible at what they do. Plus, they are generous and committed to what our mission means to families in our community.


I have the incredible opportunity every day to see how generous donors make a difference to families throughout the community. Let me tell you how you make a difference.

One family drove directly to Solace House, our center for grief support and healing. Their young son had just completed suicide. They came to us as a family for help. A friend recommended us, because there was nowhere else to turn. We are only able to provide this service to the community free of charge because of the generosity of our donors.

Recently, one of our community liaisons thanked our leadership team for the opportunity to work with families who need our help with hospice and who don’t have insurance. She said, “thank you for allowing me to give those families the joy of great care.” One of the best parts of my job is being able to say YES to families who need us. The ability to provide care to individuals without resources to pay is due to our generous donors.

And finally – I’m proud to tell you that Kansas City Hospice delivers what no other hospice provides in this city…we provide care to newborns, to teenagers, to young adults and to the elderly.  Our goal to ensure access to high quality care for all, regardless of their resources, and to ensure each patient’s needs are met so that families can focus on one another and make the most of each moment together. We can accomplish this because of philanthropic support from donors throughout our community.

Kansas City HospiceAward-Winning Care

We are proud to be recognized at the local, state, and national level for our excellence in patient care. This year we were awarded the 2018 Hospice Honors for high quality care from a caregiver’s point of view. We also received the 2018 Home Health Award for our Palliative Home Health program. Additionally, we received HHCAHPS Honors Elite recognition. This is given to home health care providers scoring above the Health Care First National Average in 100% of categories. This elite level of quality in patient care is always our first priority because of what it means for the families in our care.

A Community Rises

At our recent Sunday Night Live fundraising event, we debuted a new video. It features an inspiring story about a remarkable young man with a devastating disease. Matt has redefined for me what it means to me to handle a situation with courage, dignity and humor. And, his friends demonstrate the power of friendship and unconditional love. Theirs is a remarkable story that speaks to the good of humanity, the good work of Kansas City Hospice and the importance of our donors and supporters. Kansas City Hospice provides end of life care, but there’s a lot of living that goes on as people receive that care. Watch the video.

Focus on Living

What so many people misunderstand about hospice and palliative care is that it’s not about the last few days of life. It’s about making the most of each moment and appreciating time with friends and family.

Here’s how the World Health Organization defines hospice and palliative care.

  • Palliative care improves the quality of life of people and their families facing life-threatening or life-limiting illness. It does so through prevention and relief of suffering, early identification, and assessment and treatment of pain and other problems.
  • It’s a holistic approach. Palliative care focuses on meeting the needs of the whole person, not just treating their condition. Accordingly, it addresses the physical, social, psychological and spiritual issues and other problems faced by those affected.
  • Palliative care affirms life and regards dying as a normal process. It intends neither to hasten nor to unduly postpone death.
  • It is a human right. People should be able to access hospice and palliative care as soon as they are diagnosed with a life-limiting condition. It should not just occur at the end of life.
  • Hospice and palliative care is provided in different settings. It can be in the home, in nursing facilities or other health facilities. Also, it’s provided by a group of compassionate individuals that can include family members, community caregivers, doctors, nurses, psychologists and social workers.
  • Hospice and palliative care is most effective when started early in the course of an illness. Palliative care can take place together with treatment such as anti-cancer therapy or anti-retroviral therapy.
  • Supporting family members and caregivers is a key aspect of hospice and palliative care. Improving their quality of life and well-being is an often neglected area of care.

Please assist Kansas City Hospice in helping our community learn more about hospice and palliative care. Join our team!

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