History of Hospice
Hospice can be traced back to medieval times when it was referenced as a place of shelter and rest for the weary or ill travelers on a long journey. In 1967, physician Dame Cicely Saunders founded the first modern hospice, St. Christopher's Hospice, in London. The first hospice was created in the United States in Connecticut and staffed solely by volunteers in 1974.
History of Circle of Life
July 1, 1980: Communities Home Health Care (CHHC) was started in Bella Vista, Arkansas under the auspices of Concordia’s 10-bed hospital. Dr. John Garrett was the Medical Director. Lou Garrett, RN was the founder.
March 1982: CHHC, under the leadership of Hugh Means, CEO of Springdale Memorial Hospital, became a nonprofit three-hospital based home health program. The three hospitals were Bates Medical Center, St. Mary’s Hospital and Springdale Memorial Hospital. This was the first multi-hospital home health program in Region X for Health Care Finance Administration, now Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. A federal grant funded the joint venture.
March 1984: Springdale Memorial Hospital assumed ownership of CHHC. It was the largest nonprofit home health in Arkansas located in Bentonville, off the square.
December 29, 1992: Circle of Life Hospice was licensed as a part of CHHC.
1995: Springdale Memorial Hospital is purchased by a for-profit hospital group.
Summer 1999: Circle of Life is not budgeted at hospital. 20 patients were on the program. Divestiture from the hospital was being discussed.
March 1, 2000: COL became the area’s only nonprofit free-standing hospice program. Northwest Health Center donates $17,000. Start-up grants were given by the Care Foundation, funded by the sale of Springdale Memorial Hospital, Northwest Auxiliary, and The Cancer Challenge.
October 2000: Hired full-time Bereavement Coordinator. Received Robert Wood Johnson Grant for bereavement services in churches.
November 2001: Voyage to a Dream, Circle of Life's first fundraiser is held with over 800 guests in attendance
February 2002: Mrs. Bernice Jones offers to donate 3 acres of land in Har-Ber Meadows.
January 27, 2004: Approved for 16 bed inpatient hospice home.
March 2004: Ground dedication for the land where the first free-standing inpatient hospice home would be built
August 2005: COL moves into the Willard and Pat Walker Family Center at 901 Jones Road
September 24, 2005: Community wide open house and 5th Annual Voyage Fundraiser
December 27, 2005: Admitted the first patient into the Earlene Howard Hospice Home.
January 2007: St. Mary’s transferred Hospice Program to COL.
February 29, 2007: Approved for 8 bed expansion to Hospice Home.
September 2008: COL begins construction on 8-bed expansion
January 2009: COL submits Permit of Approval for 16-bed inpatient facility in Benton County
July 30, 2009: Community Home Warming event held for West Wing expansion raising over $40,000
August 2009: COL opens West Wing of Earlene Howard Hospice Home
September 10, 2009: COL receives approval from state for Benton County Expansion
November 21, 2009: COL announces public phase of comprehensive capital campaign “Partners…in Expanding the Circle” at 9th Annual Voyage. Pat Walker and Ginger Graham serve as honorary chairs; John George as campaign chair. Goal: $15,000,000
January 2010: The Center for Grief opened providing bereavement support for the NWA community
April 2010: COL opened a temporary 8-bed inpatient home in a Green House® at Legacy Village
November 10, 2011: COL broke ground on a permanent 24-bed inpatient hospice home that will be located in Bentonville on the Legacy Village campus.
March 2013: COL will open their second permanent inpatient facility.