As a result of the hard work of a group of local visionaries, Dayton, Ohio became one of the first communities in the country to introduce the hospice concept. Hospice of Dayton was founded in 1978 as Dayton’s first and only not-for-profit hospice and remains the area’s largest hospice care provider. The program began service with one RN, two volunteers, five patients and $3,000. Dedicated to serving the communities of Montgomery, Greene, Preble, Clinton, Clark, Miami, Warren and Butler Counties, Hospice of Dayton currently serves over 4,000 patients annually and employs over 650 staff members.
Among those who spearheaded hospice care in Dayton was Betty Schmoll, RN, who became the first President/CEO of Hospice of Dayton. Schmoll was a nurse who was inspired to become a driving force in the hospice movement after providing care for her own mother in the home setting. She found support in her vision and mission from James Ungerleider, MD, who served as the first Medical Director; Carol Dixon, RN, who served as the first Clinical Vice President, and a group of dedicated volunteers who served in every imaginable role to launch hospice care services for the Dayton community.
The vision of the founders of a different kind of end-of-life care quickly found support among all the local hospitals. In an outstanding example of community collaboration, each hospital provided staff dedicated to the emerging hospice care program. Office space, printing, and copy equipment, and covered telephone expenses in our start-up years were take care of by our dedicated hospital partners. The first office was located at Pretzering House on the grounds of Miami Valley Hospital. Other original hospital partners include Good Samaritan Hospital, Grandview Hospital, Kettering Medical Center, St. Elizabeth Medical Center, Greene Memorial Hospital and Sycamore Medical Center.
As Hospice of Dayton services expanded, offices for the program relocated several times and a 13-bed in-patient facility was established at St. Elizabeth Hospital. Supporters began to spearhead a movement for a facility designed to meet the special needs of hospice patients. Grounds on Wilmington Avenue that were owned by the state of Ohio were identified as an ideal location. Due to the generosity of over 14,000 donors, large and small, dreams of a facility designed specifically for hospice patients became a reality. Construction was completed in 1990 and almost immediately it was recognized that the facility did not have enough rooms to adequately meet community need. In 1996 the Shaw addition was dedicated, more than doubling the number of hospice patient beds available.
Hospice of Dayton’s Wilmington Avenue campus is located on 17 acres of beautiful, historic land that curves around two scenic ponds. The grounds and gardens are designed to provide serenity, comfort and pleasure to patients and their families in every season. As one of the earliest freestanding hospices in the country, the Dayton campus has served as a model for other hospices around the nation. The building was designed to offer every patient care suite a beautiful view of nature, including beautiful and colorful gardens that grace the grounds.
Hospice services have been provided by our organization for over twenty years in Butler & Warren counties in every possible patient setting – in homes, extended care and assisted living facilities, hospitals and our hospice care center at 5940 Long Meadow Drive in Franklin, Ohio. “Lorelei’s Place” Hospice House is named in honor of Butler County resident Lorelei Tatar, who died in hospice care and whose family was instrumental in establishing the Hospice House option for care for area residents. Services are available regardless of ability to pay and grief support is available at no cost to anyone in the community with need for bereavement support. Lorelei’s Place is located one-half mile from the Atrium Medical Center, providing convenience and easy accessibility for patients and families.