Banner Health News Center  

Fairbanks Memorial Hospital to Provide Medical Hospice Services


FAIRBANKS, Alaska (March 6, 2012) -- After several years of discussion and planning, Hospice of the Tanana Valley recently approached The Greater Fairbanks Community Hospital Foundation and Fairbanks Memorial Hospital with a proposal of uniting to create a comprehensive medical hospice program. 

“This effort will combine the best of volunteer support with the best of clinical care,” said Bob Koslick, HTV board president.

Mary Johnson, HTV executive director, adds “While change is difficult, I believe we need to do this for our community. End-of-life medical problems like pain and anxiety need clinical interventions from hospice trained medical staff. However, the work of volunteers will continue to be essential. Our volunteers freely give the gifts of their time and attention to dying people, because death is not just a medical event, it is a human event.”

The goal of hospice, as defined by the Hospice Foundation of America, is "to improve the quality of a patient's last weeks, days and hours by offering comfort and dignity.”  Locally, HTV has provided social, emotional, and practical support to terminally ill patients, their families, and loved ones. Founded in 1988, HTV has a long and distinguished history of providing compassionate care to patients, with a mostly volunteer staff.

“This is good news for Fairbanks,” said Mike Powers, FMH CEO. “By creating a medical hospice we are able to bring the continuum of medical care full circle.  We are very grateful for the opportunity to be able to build on the work of HTV, and to include their staff and volunteers in this new program.”

“The Hospital Foundation has a long history of stepping forward when the Fairbanks healthcare community is in need.  From the very first fundraising campaign to build FMH, to today’s effort to provide comprehensive hospice care, our efforts have been in response to requests from our fellow healthcare providers and community members,” said Jeff Cook, President of The Hospital Foundation.

It is anticipated that medical hospice services will begin being offered between mid-May and mid-June, 2012.  Several critical items must occur prior to accepting patients, including program development, state licensure and surveys, and volunteer credentialing.  Fairbanks Memorial Hospital will also be seeking accreditation of the program by The Joint Commission, the largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. 

About Fairbanks Memorial Hospital 

Fairbanks Memorial Hospital has been serving the greater Fairbanks community for more than 30 years. Owned by the people of Fairbanks, Alaska through the Greater Fairbanks Community Hospital Foundation, it is a 152-bed hospital operated by Banner Health, a nonprofit health care system guided by a mission to make a difference in people’s lives through excellent patient care.

FMH Contact:  Clover Tiffany, Director of Communications: 458-5300

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