Announcing the 2015 Forum Award of Excellence Winners

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Orlando, FL. – On May 21st, in conjunction with the 30th Annual Forum “Painting the Picture: Messaging Metrics & Mission”, Florida Hospice & Palliative Care Association (FHPCA) announced the 2015 winners of the annual Awards of Excellence in Hospice and Palliative Care.

The Awards of Excellence program was created to identify, recognize and showcase the outstanding and innovative work of individual staff members and hospice programs throughout the state of Florida. This award program aims to provide a venue for hospice professionals to honor their peers and highlight the very best hospice has to offer. FHPCA is pleased to announce the 2015 winners:

The Catalyst Award Winner:

Pam Mezzina, Big Bend HospiceDSC_0558

The Catalyst Award recognizes an individual in any role within an organization who has consistently demonstrated leadership in forging the collaboration that makes hospice unique.

Pam Mezzina has worked with the bereaved, including bereaved children, since 1995 at Big Bend Hospice (BBH). She currently serves as the BBH Bereavement services Manager. The BBH bereavement services department provided services to 3,165 bereaved individuals in 2013. She helped develop the Big Bend Hospice Caring Tree program, a unique bereavement model for children and adolescents. In 2009 Mrs. Mezzina founded the Trauma Grief & Loss Coalition (TGLC) for youth. This coalition now involves at least 20 agencies which meet at coalition meetings quarterly. At each meeting a venue for ongoing dialogue is provided and participants share current best practices and are given opportunities to debrief following recent challenges. Pam embodies the ideal of excellent teamwork; she understands that no one person or agency can effect great change alone. She seeks to better our community through strong and lasting partnerships, both internally and externally.


Excellence in Program Innovation

Clinical Practice Winner: 

Spiritual 1_Awards GHPPC copyCare Volunteer Program, Gulfside Hospice & Pasco Palliative Care

The Excellence in Program Innovation Award recognizes services and programs provided by a hospice organization that demonstrate the power of creativity and ingenuity to impact the practice and the community.

Spiritual Care Volunteer Program (SCVP) successfully creates layers of spiritual caregiving based on patient acuity level. SCVP volunteers are part of the interdisciplinary team providing patients and families with spiritual support, encouragement, and comfort through spiritual care visits. The program has 40-45 volunteers and an average monthly census of 100 patients. These special volunteers visit patients in 40 ALFs and nursing homes. A cadre of Stephen ministers, clergy, and others with counseling degrees serve as volunteer spiritual counselors to visit low acuity home patients who want more involved spiritual support. In 2014, volunteers visited 279 patients for a total of 1,765 visits and 1,303 hours. The SCVP creates individualized spiritual caregiving based on patient acuity, enhances diversity in spiritual care provided, increases volunteer hours and spiritual care services, strengthens relationships with community partners, educates people about hospice through community outreach, and provides a significant cost-savings to Gulfside.


Community Outreach – HonorableMention:

Gift of Life, Community Hospice of Northeast Florida

When making end-of-life decisions and documenting advance directives, one decision that should be considered is whether to be a tissue and/or organ donor. Although hospices are not required to make organ and tissue donor referrals like hospitals, Community 1_Award_CHNEF copyHospice of Northeast Florida’s innovative Gift of Life program ensures that the community they serve will have their final wishes honored. With the majority of deaths now occuring outside the traditional hospital setting, registered donors and their families would typically not have the option to be able to save and enhance the lives of others through the gift of donation without such a referral program. The Gift of Life program and partnership with LifeNet Health of Florida program has honored the final wishes of 99 individuals to date, given families comfort and pride, and served the broader local community by bringing the gift of tissue donation to thousands of recipients.

Community Outreach Winner:

Hearts & Hooves, Horses Helping Grieving Hearts, Halifax Health Hospice of Volusia-Flagler

“There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man” – Winston S. Churchill Painting memories on a horse along with groundwork activities helps to facilitate grief feelings and creates a bonding experience for families that have recently experienced the death of a loved one1_Award Halifax copy. Sometimes it is just easier to talk about difficult feelings while grooming or interacting with a horse. This experiential approach is especially successful with children and teens who sometimes may be reluctant to come into a group setting to share painful feelings with strangers. The art and horse activities together create metaphors that parallel how the family is handling their own grief. The awareness becomes concrete and visual allowing for a change in relationships and adjustments to living life without the deceased loved one.

The Synergy Award Winner:

Sustaining Innovation Group,

TrustBridge Health

The Synergy Award is the Award of Excellence to the group that makes collaboration happen.

When Hospice of Palm Beach County and Hospice by the Sea combined to form TrustBridge Health, many of the structures in place were no longer relevant in the current healthcare environment and created barriers for staff, wasted time or resources, and restricted the service excellence the new organization strived for. More than 140 leadership staff established a Quality Assurance & Performance Improvement (QAPI) project that reached beyond what either hospice organization ha1_Award Trustbridge copyd ever accomplished. They adopted the principles of Lean Theory as an organizational long-term commitment, engaged a consultant for the project, and named the initiative QAPI+.

The QAPI+ Project is a group of interdisciplinary employees from multiple departments overseen by project analysts. Frontline staff lead the group, with managers, directors and C-level staff working side by side with them. Together, they are called the Sustaining Innovation Group. Going forward, the Sustaining Innovation Group will grow and exchange members, continually combining people from different places in the patient care process, from billing, to supply distribution, to nursing. Each and every one of TrustBridge Health’s 1,500 employees has the opportunity to contribute to the growth of the organization. The Sustaining Innovation Group serves as the pulse of the organization, constantly searching for ways to create happier employees through better processes—both of which translate into happier patients and families.

The Hospice Story Award Winner:

“Volunteer Story” Brian Logue,

 1_Award TCHTreasure Coast Hospice

The Hospice Story Award is given to the person or organization that best captures his or her most meaningful hospice experience with an original creative work.  

This film traces one man’s journey to becoming a hospice volunteer and celebrates the passion that makes hospice volunteers such a critical member of the team.



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