Haven Hospice Ambassadors Receive 2014 FHPCA Synergy Award
(pictures below)

On May 22, the Florida Hospice and Palliative Care Association (FHPCA) announced that Haven Hospice was among the 2014 winners of the annual Awards of Excellence in Hospice and Palliative Care at the 29th Annual FHPCA Forum entitled, The Journey Continues -- Elevating Clinical Care to New Heights.

The Haven Hospice Ambassadors were the recipients of the FHPCA 2014 Synergy Award which is given to a group of hospice workers who not only seek excellence within the group, but inspire excellence and collaboration throughout the hospice environment. 

Five Haven Hospice staff members took on the role of ambassadors to visit their sister hospice organization, Grahamstown Hospice in South Africa in September 2013 to gain a practical understanding of the environment and the challenges in which end-of-life and palliative care is delivered in Grahamstown and the surrounding communities. The selected Haven Ambassadors come from a variety of career paths and brought a wide-range of experiences to Grahamstown.  Pam Giebeig is a hospice nurse, Tangela Wilson is a respiratory therapist, Vonceil Levine is a clinical social worker, Katie Alpahando is the interim manager of bereavement and psychosocial services, and Arthur Clark is a vice president and the chief information officer.

The impact of the Haven Ambassadors’ visit to Grahamstown was not only well-received but felt throughout the surrounding areas. The Haven Hospice Ambassadors visited the care centers at Grahamstown Hospice and Sunshine Coast Hospice and also went out into many of the surrounding communities to visit patients in their homes. Not only were community members welcoming, but the notoriety also raised awareness of the programs and services Grahamstown Hospice offers and assisted in raising the profile of the organization in the communities that they serve.

Since 2001, Haven Hospice has been partnering with and supporting Grahamstown Hospice. That support has included an annual financial donation by Haven Hospice employees which was matched by the organization and used by Grahamstown Hospice to pay for two hospice nurses in South Africa.

In November 2012, Haven Hospice sponsored three staff members of Grahamstown Hospice to travel to north central Florida to meet face-to-face for the first time and learn more about Haven and end-of-life care in America. 

On their trip in 2013, the Haven Hospice Ambassadors also witnessed how Haven employee donations were at work in Grahamstown. A patient, who became home-bound due to being paralyzed from the waist down, had been isolated from the community that she loved and from the people who loved her, until Grahamstown was able to provide this patient with a wheelchair. She was then able to go out into the community and provide AIDS education and awareness for children and families. 

Having been inspired by this life-changing experience, the Haven Hospice Ambassadors  have been leading  employee events, including fundraising, to assist Grahamstown Hospice staff in bringing care and compassion to South African patients and families.  

Beginning in November 2013, the Haven Ambassadors created a presentation of photos, stories and music which they brought to all ten Haven Hospice offices that serve 18 counties across North Florida. They raised awareness among the Haven employees of the challenges Grahamstown Hospice is facing and how their donations could uplift so many lives.

In the early months of 2013, Haven Hospice had a 250 percent increase of employees electing for the automatic payroll deduction. The total donation collected from this method in 2013 was $3,813.34 and in 2014, due to the outreach efforts of the Haven Ambassadors it will exceed $9,000 in just payroll deduction gifts.

In December 2013, the Just Because Campaign included team-focused challenges, raffles and donations while being successful in engaging our employees and increasing the fundraising efforts for Grahamstown. Different departments and office locations then competed against one another to put together a total of 11 special gifts and gift baskets to be included in the raffle drawing. This campaign was successful in raising an additional $1,052. Haven Hospice as an organization has committed to continue the 100 percent matching of all donations collected through these initiatives and added $4,865.34 to the employee donations total.

Grahamstown Hospice Director David Barker, stated “Without the ongoing generous support of Haven Hospice and its staff we would not have been able to do 8,652 home visits to the 475 patients and 697 family members whom we cared for in 2013.” Not only has Haven Hospice financially supported its sister hospice, but also provided ongoing educational, collegial and emotional support in regular communications through a partnership committee since 2003 and certainly in 2013. These efforts were strengthened and taken to the next level by the continuous efforts of the Haven Hospice Ambassadors.

Among many things, the exchange trip gave the Haven Hospice Ambassadors the opportunity to develop several goals for 2014 in collaboration with Grahamstown staff. Some of those goals started gaining traction in the last few months of 2013 and were implemented during the first part of 2014. These goals included increasing communication at all levels between Haven and Grahamstown, a mentoring program that is discipline specific, exploring trainings and educational opportunities that can be shared via Skype or through other cyber methods,  encouraging further Haven employee support, and reaching out to specific organizations that can expand the mission of  Haven’s  sister hospice.

Vice President and Chief Information Officer Arthur Clark.

 Interim Manager of Bereavement and Psychosocial Services Katie Alpahando.

President and Chief Executive Officer of FHPCA Paul Ledford, Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Haven Hospice Arthur Clark, Interim Manager of Bereavement and Psychosocial Services for Haven Hospice Katie Alpahando and Chair of FHPCA and President and Chief Executive Officer of Gulfside Hospice and Pasco Palliative Care Linda Ward.

Senior Manager of Healthcare Practice at Synechron (Award Sponsor) Todd Hicks, Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Haven Hospice Arthur Clark, Interim Manager of Bereavement and Psychosocial Services for Haven Hospice Katie Alpahando and Director of Healthcare Practice at Synechron (Award Sponsor) Hans Anderson.