Since 1981, Hospice of Nortwest Ohio has led the region in end-of-life care.

Hospice of Northwest Ohio

Serving Patients Since 1981

Historical Milestones

Hospice of Northwest Ohio was conceived in 1978 after the death of Kitty Todd, whose many friends made contributions for the express purpose of forming a hospice program. The founding Hospice Trustees utilized that seed money, and later combined it with a grant from the Toledo Community Foundation, to incorporate Northwest Ohio Hospice Association in 1979.


Virginia Clifford was selected as the first executive director, and Sharon Erel, MD, the founding medical director. Office space in the old Flower Hospital on Collingwood Boulevard was donated. In 1981, through a cooperative program with the Toledo District Nurses Association (later known as VNS), the first hospice patients were seen. Though the early years were rewarding, they were financially difficult. Hospice had no access to insurance reimbursement and relied heavily on contributions and volunteer support.


This was a watershed year because Congress ratified the Medicare Hospice Benefit.



Northwest Ohio Hospice Association became the first hospice in Ohio to be certified by Medicare to care for terminally ill patients. It also negotiated the first per diem hospice coverage through Blue Cross of Northwest Ohio and became a United Way agency. It began to employ its own nurses and discontinued its contract with Visiting Nurse Service.



Hospice moved into the old Flower Hospital nurses dorms. Also, the first volunteer director was hired, providing a more formal structure for the volunteer program and comprehensive training for participants.


Hospice became licensed to provide care in Michigan.


For the first time, Northwest Ohio Hospice Association broke even!



Now caring for hundreds of patients a year, Hospice moved to more spacious quarters at Sunforest Court in west Toledo.

Recognizing the need to provide a home-like environment for people with complex care needs, Hospice opened a 10-bed inpatient unit at Lake Park on the campus of Flower Hospital in 1991. This pilot program was so successful that the Trustees began to plan for a freestanding Hospice Center.


Hospice began providing care for patients living in nursing homes.



After the donation of land from Edward and Marion Knight and a hugely successful capital campaign, a state-of-the-art Hospice Center was opened in Perrysburg. Named in honor of the Knights, the 25-bed facility was completely paid for by private donations prior to opening. Also that year, the name of the agency was changed to Hospice of Northwest Ohio and staff moved their headquarters to the new Center at 30000 East River Road.


Recognizing the need for greater awareness and understanding of hospice and palliative care, Hospice of Northwest Ohio was among the first in the nation-through a formal relationship with Medical College of Ohio-to provide end-of-life care education for medical students. That effort continues today with the University of Toledo Medical Center. The two-week rotation at Hospice has become a meaningful part of the curriculum for hundreds of medical students. In addition, pharmacy, nursing and other students in health care fields also benefit from training at Hospice.

Also in 1998, Hospice of Northwest Ohio was accredited by the Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). The agency has been surveyed several times since and has continued to receive this important accreditation.

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