Hospice of Western Reserve started serving 18 patients, but now serves 6,000 Featured

9:35am EDT July 5, 2011

David Simpson joined Hospice of the Western Reserve as executive director in 1985, when the agency served only Lake County and had just 18 hospice patients.

From that beginning, Simpson, who now serves as CEO emeritus, has created the fourth-largest nonprofit hospice organization in the United States, the 10th-largest hospice organization of any kind in the United States and an organization that is pre-eminent in the conceptualization and delivery of end-of-life care.

Hospice of the Western Reserve now serves 6,000 patients annually in six Northeast Ohio counties, cared for by more than 900 paid and 1,200 unpaid employees. Under Simpson’s leadership, Hospice of the Western Reserve has formed groundbreaking programs for pediatric, prenatal, AIDS, dementia, veterans and cardiopulmonary care.

Simpson has created a hospice and palliative care program that is viewed not as a competitor but as a partner by the three largest health care systems in Cleveland, all of which recognize that Hospice of the Western Reserve is a world-class leader in its discipline.

Simpson has guided the organization through numerous mergers, acquisitions and facility openings, most notably, the opening of Hospice House, a 42-bed residential facility on Lake Erie and the first inpatient hospice facility in the Greater Cleveland area. Hospice House took eight years to complete and offers bedridden patients access throughout the building and outdoors thanks to oversized doorways. Individual rooms at Hospice House were built to look and feel as much like a home as possible.

In the 11 years that Hospice House has been serving Northeast Ohio, more than 10,000 patients have been cared for there. In January 2011, the board of directors of Hospice of the Western Reserve unanimously voted to rename the facility the David A. Simpson Hospice House.

How to reach: Hospice of the Western Reserve, (800) 707-8922 or www.hospicewr.org