Awards Presented At CHAPCA Conference

Date October 14, 2010

 CHAPCA presented two awards during the Annual Conference, held Oct 4-6, 2010 in Las Vegas. 

The Pierre Salmon Award recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution to hospice and palliative care in California or Nevada; promoted the growth and availability of hospice and palliative care; and embodied the core values of hospice. Since its inception, 21 individuals have received this prestigious award. 

The 2010 winner was Dr Laurel Herbst, Chief Medical Officer at San Diego Hospice and the Institute of Palliative Medicine.

Dr Herbst came to San Diego Hospice in 1978.  At that time, there were only volunteers sitting with seven dying patients . Dr Herbst grew the organization to serving more than 1,000 patients a day, and provided leadership for a world class research institute that actively impacts palliative medicine and patient care.

She has been a palliative medicine physician for 32 years, basically since the beginning of hospice care in the US.  She helped shape care which in turn shaped the Medicare Hospice Benefit, and she helped design the inpatient care center at San Diego Hospice in 1991.  At that time, it was the only acute care hospice hospital in the US, and still holds that distinction in California. 

As President of the Academy of Hospice Physicians, she provided leadership for the development of the hospice and palliative medicine specialty.  She has been a sought after mentor and role model for more than 200 medical students, 100 residents and 8-12 Fellows who spend time in the largest training program in the country in palliative medicine.

Early on, Dr Herbst realized the importance of the multidisciplinary team in hospice care. She also recognized the value of family and friends for hospice patients and still teaches others how to tap this rich resource for the patient.  Dr. Herbst’s commitment to quality and compassionate care, her dedication to a team approach to pain and symptom management, and her leadership on the integration of emotional and spiritual issues with clinical care were factors in the award decision.   Her award was presented by Susan Plummer, CHAPCA’s President.

The Award for Outstanding Program Achievement was created in 2004 to recognize a program or agency that has created and implemented an innovative program in end of life care.  

The winner for 2010 was Sarah House, a non-profit end of life care home for low income and homeless in Santa Barbara.  Sarah House was founded in 1991 to provide housing and end of life care to low income individuals with HIV/AIDS.  In 2004, they successfully sponsored legislation to expand their mission and adapt to the needs of the community by providing beds to low income dying non-HIV individuals.  Since 2005, Sarah House has served over 350 people, and in the last 14 months, their 8 bed unit has been full, with a waiting list.

Sarah House is a Social Model of residential care.  As such, they focus on four key concepts—a homelike environment, no strict division of labor, cost effectiveness, and compassionate care.  The national average bed cost for hospice residence is over $650 a day, while institutional care in the local hospital is well over $3000 a day.  Sarah House proves its cost effectiveness with a single bed day cost of $350.  Residents pay an average of $17 toward their care.  Sarah House enjoys tremendous community support.

Through outreach by Sarah House supporters, the Santa Maria and Thousand Oaks communities have embraced the social model concept and are planning their own hospice residences.  Word of Sarah House spread to Eastern Europe, and the national hospice director in Slovenia decided to model their national program on the social model of care.  Sarah House envisions the progressive integration of social model care as complementary to the skilled medical model hospice care. Perhaps the most important quality about Sarah House is its heart.  It’s a place of sanctuary and warmth for residents, their families and their staff.

Randy Sunday, Sarah House’s Executive Director and Debbie McQuade, the House Manager, accepted the award on behalf of Sarah House.  The award was presented by Suzi Johnson, CHAPCA’s Vice President, and Vice President of Sharps HospiceCare, San Diego.

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