Senior Living Company Unveils New Hospice Subsidiary

The George M. Leader Family Corp, a Pennsylvania-based retirement community operator, has added Lifesong Hospice and Palliative Care to its portfolio.

Lifesong will provide hospice care to residents of the parent company’s senior living facilities throughout central Pennsylvania, including Country Meadows Retirement Communities, Providence Place, and the nonprofit Ecumenical Retirement Community in Harrisburg.

“The decision was made to bring hospice care in-house and make it something special for the residents, allowing them a higher level of intimacy than they may receive from outside vendors,” Angus Patterson, CEO of Lifesong Hospice and Palliative Care, told Hospice News. “Adding this service line is a way to extend the continuity of care, improve the quality of care, and give the provider more control over the service plan in general.”

Patterson took the helm of Lifesong after a decade of work with a large hospice provider, initially in marketing and later in management and clinical operations.

Lifesong tentatively expects to begin admitting patients in May or June, pending approval of their state license and their application for Medicare certification. Based on the number of Country Meadows residents who used hospice services in previous years, Lifesong expects an initial annual patient census of 115-120 individuals.

In the interim, Lifesong is building its staff, including physicians, nurses, social workers, and therapists, as well as seeking volunteers. The hospice is also seeking staff to provide spiritual counseling, music therapy, clerical support, pet therapy, and family bereavement support.

“As with any other start up we are focused on bringing in staff and helping them understand our mission and vision,” Patterson said. “Initially this was a little bit of a challenge without any distinct name recognition.When we started actively recruiting last year we did our best to connect to the Leader Family name, which is very well known in the region, so we could attract some of the top hospice professionals.”

The George M. Leader Family Corp., founded by former Pennsylvania Gov. George Leader in 1962, operates assisted living and personal care facilities, skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities, independent living locations, restorative care, and memory support in central Pennsylvania.

Of the 1.43 million Medicare beneficiaries who used the hospice benefit during 2017, more than 41 percent received care in a nursing home, skilled nursing facility, or assisted living facility, according to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

“A lot of planning went into designing Lifesong during the past year and a half, and the decision to bring hospice in-house was not made as a result of poor service from other providers,” Patterson said. “There are a lot of strong hospice providers in the central Pennsylvania region.”

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