Forty years ago, a doctor in Northern Virginia, Josefina Magno, learned of people in her community who were living with advanced illnesses whose treatments were no longer effective. Dr. Magno understood that individuals nearing the end of their lives had specific medical needs that could no longer be effectively addressed by their doctors, so she and a dedicated group of volunteers took it upon themselves to care for these individuals. It was this group of volunteers that laid the foundation for what would become Capital Caring. Today we celebrate the 40th anniversary of our organization’s founding by those dedicated volunteers and committed neighborhood partners.
Thanks to the efforts of thousands of employees and volunteers over the past four decades, Capital Caring is now the largest hospice and palliative care provider in the mid-Atlantic region. Our service area expands as far south as the North Carolina border, and as far east as Prince George’s County, Maryland, and we serve families in our nation’s capital. We are confident Dr. Magno would be proud of everything our staff, volunteers, donors, and partners have accomplished as we continually work to realize her vision to provide care for all those who need it.
Our vision remains unchanged: we strive every day to be recognized as a Center of Excellence in providing and catalyzing world-class advanced illness care. As one of the original hospice providers in the United States, we are driven by our desire to improve hospice care standards and to increase access to these services nationwide. In the early-1980s, we were pleased to serve as a hospice demonstration project, which ultimately led to the creation of the Medicare Hospice Benefit, a program that provides for hospice services nationwide and is administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). We are proud to remain partners with CMS as we seek to provide – and measure the outcomes of – world-class care offered to those living with advanced illness.
We take great pride in delivering innovative, transformative, and holistic advanced illness care and support to the 1,300 moms, dads, and kids who entrust us to simply improve their care every day. Our doctors, nurses, social workers, counselors, and volunteers work with each person to address what matters most and to provide care that fits their lives and allows them to enjoy precious time with their loved ones.
Capital Caring approaches each individual’s care with a goal to reduce pain and anxiety and to ensure every person is comfortable and able to spend time focusing on what matters most. While a majority of the care we provide is wherever each person calls “home,” we know that some people require additional support and now provide nearly 60 inpatient beds throughout four facilities in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC, that allow us to offer round-the-clock acute care when needed. Our TeleCaring program provides an extra layer of support to patients and families via daily proactive phone calls to check in on patient and caregiver comfort, which allows us to address individual needs, even when our clinical teams are not in the home.
We also understand the impact that losing a loved one can have on an individual’s family and friends and are proud to offer more than a year of bereavement counseling to surviving family members of those who pass away under our care while also supporting their extended communities. Our counselors’ reach extends to church support groups, home visits, and even school-based support groups throughout our service area, while our Point of Hope camps offer a safe space for children experiencing loss to share their feelings with other kids experiencing the same emotions, all with the goal of helping them learn to adapt to their new life situations.
As we celebrate all that we have accomplished during the past four decades of caring, we are using this anniversary milestone to recommit ourselves to work every day to give moms, dads, and kids, as well as their families, the resources they need to make the right decisions about their healthcare. We believe all people deserve world-class care and serve individuals and families regardless of their ability to pay. The last thing anyone wants to worry about is how they or their family will manage health care services.
When thinking back to our opening in 1977 as just a small collection of devoted volunteers, we cannot help but take pride in how far we have come. We have helped transform how hospice and palliative care is provided in the United States, and we have inspired thousands of individuals to embrace hospice care as their personal and professional passions.
But we know there is more we can do. Far too many individuals and families in our region, and throughout the entire United States, who suffer with advanced illness and do not experience the comforting touch of a caring hospice provider. They are simply unaware of hospice as a service and a provider of emotional, physical, and spiritual relief for those facing serious illness.
So while we celebrate our accomplishments today and reflect on 40 years of caring, tomorrow is a new day. We will re-double our commitment to reaching every mom, dad, and child for whom we can provide comfort and simply improve care.