Community Hospice of Northeast Florida

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Coordinates: 30°12′17″N 81°36′20″W / 30.2048°N 81.6055°W / 30.2048; -81.6055

Community Hospice of Northeast Florida
Industry Palliative Care
Founded 1979 (Jacksonville)
Founder two nurses and a minister
Headquarters Flag of Florida.svg Jacksonville, Florida
Area served
Duval, St. Johns, Clay, Baker and Nassau Counties
Key people
Susan Ponder-Stansel, President & CEO
Products Palliative Care

Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, also known simply as Community Hospice, is a not-for-profit hospice, which has served the Greater Jacksonville Metropolitan Area since its inception in 1979. The organization was the first hospice program in Northeast Florida and one of a few operating programs in the state when Florida began granting hospice licenses in 1981;[1] Community Hospice received their license in 1983[2] and in 2008, assisted nearly 1,000 patients daily[3] and more than 6,000 patients a year.[4]


Community Hospice was founded by two nurses, one minister and a small group of volunteers who worked out of an office at Methodist Hospital. The program was certified by Medicare in 1983,[2] and like all Hospice organizations in the United States, relies on Medicare for 80-85% of their revenue. Unlike most other hospices, Community Hospice receives no money from the local United Way; instead relying on the Community Hospice Foundation as a reliable source of funding. The remainder of their operating income comes from contributions from clients, fund raising initiatives throughout the year and private insurance payments.


The needs of children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions are very different from those of adults. Community PedsCare, is the pediatric palliative and hospice program developed by Community Hospice in collaboration with Wolfson Children's Hospital, Nemours Children's Clinic and University of Florida.[5] The program, begun in 2000, offers individualized support, comfort and care to these children and their families.[2]

In October, 2008, PedsCare was a recipient of the 2008 Quality in Palliative Care Leadership Award, which is "presented annually to recognize organizations which have enhanced their palliative care services by implementing the palliative care principles supported by the National Consensus Project for Quality Palliative Care and the National Quality Forum".[3]


Community Hospice provides services to 90% of the Greater Jacksonville market area. The organization has several outreach centers and four "Centers for Caring" for patients who require treatment for symptoms that cannot be managed in another setting. A facility in St. Johns County, Florida is the newest inpatient location.[6]

The Earl B. Hadlow Center for Caring was Community Hospice's first residential facility. The 50,000-square-foot (4,600 m2) building in Mandarin opened in 1985 and now contains 38 beds.[5]
The George and Margaret Morris Center for Caring is an 8,500-square-feet, 12-bed wing short-term care facility located on the 6th floor at Shands Jacksonville Pavilion. The Morris Center opened in September, 2001.[5][7]
The Dr. Gaston J. Acosta-Rua Center for Caring opened in January, 2007 to serve patients in west Jacksonville, northern Clay and Baker counties. The 16-bed facility is located in a 27,000-square-foot (2,500 m2) building. The center encourages overnight stays by family, brief visits by family pets and visitors at any time, day or night.[8]
The Anne and Donald McGraw Center for Caring at Mayo Clinic Hospital opened in December, 2007. The 23,000-square-foot (2,100 m2) facility includes 16 inpatient beds in private rooms. The center encourages overnight stays by family, brief visits by family pets and visitors at any time, day or night.[9]
St. Augustine
Community Hospice established an outreach center in St. Augustine in 1985, but there was no inpatient facility until the Bailey Family Center for Caring at Flagler Hospital opened on January 8, 2011. The 11,700-square-foot (1,090 m2) structure includes 12 beds in private rooms.[10]

Other community outreach offices are located at Gateway Office and Yulee/Nassau County Office.


The Charles M. Neviaser Educational Institute at Community Hospice provides clinical education to area medical professionals on subjects related to hospice and palliative care, including pain management, the dying process, grief and loss, advance directives and ethics in end-of-life care. There are no other independent, nonprofit hospices in Florida that provide this information.

In September, 2004, the Neviaser Educational Institute, together with Mayo Clinic Jacksonville established a 12-month physician fellowship in palliative medicine to train physicians in end-of-life or chronic, non-curable disease care.

The Institute also served the Northeast Florida community with educational outreach programs to consumers.[11]


The Community Hospice Foundation, established in 2000, provides funding to support end-of-life care and education. Funding is made possible through individual and corporate donations, planned gifts from will and estates, and special fundraising events.[12]

Fund Raisers[edit]

Community Hospice holds several fund raisers each year with proceeds benefiting patients who are unable to pay for their care. Among them:

  • Halloween Doors & More: The fourth-annual event on October 18, 2008 attracted 1,600 people and raised over $440,000 for Community PedsCare. Those funds enabled the agency to double the size of PedsCare and help more than 100 local children and their families.[13]
  • Tree of Life: The 2008 event was the 18th year of this traditional grounds' decoration. A Candlelight Service of Remembrance is held to celebrate the lives of loved ones who have died.
  • Wednesday Bingo Night.

In addition, it maintains the Community Hospice Thrift Shop to help raise funds.[14]

Other groups and organizations have also assisted in fundraising for Community Hospice of Northeast Florida. The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance has primarily donated its annual proceeds to Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, totalling over $1.5 million since 1998.[15] The Esprit de Corps, a group of young professionals founded in 1986, provides volunteers to assist in Community Hospice events.[16]

Homicide Survivors[edit]

Community Hospice was awarded a $70,000 grant to support the Homicide Survivor's Program, a pilot project at the Duval County Medical Examiner's Office. Counselors provided grief and loss services to family members of homicide victims. In 2005, there were 125 homicides in the 4th Judicial Circuit.[17][18]

Five Wishes[edit]

Aging with Dignity named Community Hospice of Northeast Florida as the 2006 "National Innovator" for being the single largest distributor in the United States of the Five Wishes living will.[19] Community Hospice distributed 358,000 copies of the living will to residents of Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties. The document was created by Aging with Dignity.[20][21]


Community Hospice merged with Hospice of Southeast Georgia in 1994, creating Community Hospice of Southeast Georgia (CHSG). The organization assisted 100-125 patients yearly in Glynn, McIntosh, Ware, Camden, Brantley and Charlton counties in Georgia. As Hospice of the Golden Isles in Brunswick, Georgia grew, they expanded their service area, which overlapped that of CHSG. There were barely enough patients for one agency, and CHSG lost $200,000 in FY 2000, so to avoid competing, CHSG stopped accepting patients in late 2001.[22]


  1. ^ The Hospice of the Florida Suncoast: About Us-Three decades
  2. ^ a b c Community Hospice Celebrating 25: Looking back-timeline
  3. ^ a b Community Hospice: October 2, 2008-Community PedsCare Wins Prestigious National Award
  4. ^ Florida Times-Union: October 1, 2008- An ailing hospice industry may not get care it needs by Jeremy Cox
  5. ^ a b c Community Hospice: Get Support-Community Hospice Care-What are the options for where I can live when receiving care?
  6. ^ Scanlan, Dan: "Area hospices at odds over inpatient facility in Orange Park" Florida Times-Union, December 2, 2010
  7. ^ Florida Times-Union: September 6, 2001-Community Hospice opens center by Sarah Skidmore
  8. ^ Community Hospice: December 15, 2006-Community Hospice of Northeast Florida Names New Inpatient Facility on City's Westside
  9. ^ Community Hospice: March 13, 2007-Community Hospice of Northeast Florida Names New Inpatient Facility to Serve Beaches Area
  10. ^ "Bailey Family Center for Caring previewed" St. Augustine Record, January 6, 2011M
  11. ^ Mayo
  12. ^ Volunteer Match:
  13. ^ Florida Times-Union: November 30, 2008-Church's 'free sale' will benefit anyone who needs help by Dan Scanlan
  14. ^ Community Hospice of Northeast Florida: Get Involved-Thrift Shop Community Hospice of Northeast Florida: Get Involved-Thrift Shop
  15. ^ Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance: Charitable Status-Community Hospice of Northeast Florida
  16. ^ Impact: Esprit de Corps'
  17. ^ Community Hospice: April 25, 2006-Community Hospice and Duval County Medical Examiner's Office Form Homicide Survivor's Pilot Project
  18. ^ Florida Times-Union: June 4, 2006-Crime Victim Support
  19. ^ Community Hospice: November 16, 2006-Community Hospice of Northeast Florida recognized as 2006 National Innovator by Aging With Dignity
  20. ^ Community Hospice: November 14, 2005-Governor Proclaims November 2005 Hospice Month
  21. ^ Aging with Dignity: Project News-Five Wishes
  22. ^ Florida Times-Union: October 31, 2001-Community Hospice will leave Georgia by Teresa Stepzinski

External links[edit]