Founded in 1979, Four Seasons Compassion for Life, a nationally respected, award-winning palliative and hospice care non-profit organization, remains deeply committed to serving the community through fulfilling its mission of “Co-Creating the Care Experience.”
To date, Four Seasons Compassion for Life has served more than 10,000 patients in Henderson and Buncombe counties and surrounding areas.
The Four Seasons Compassion for Life story begins with Jean Moulthrop Hoogstra (1916-2012), long considered the matriarch of hospice in Western North Carolina. In 1977, she relocated to Hendersonville with her then-husband, Dick Moulthrop. Their church was looking for an outreach program, so she and a small group of volunteers decided to attend a workshop on hospice. What they learned was inspiring.
“It seemed so logical,” she said, looking back in 2001, “to treat dying as a natural event, to relieve pain and suffering, and to give care and support to patients and caregivers at end of life.”
As the idea of starting a hospice took form, Jean reached out to psychologist John Esse and registered nurse Claire Burse with the shared objective of providing services to terminally ill persons who would prefer to die at home. Under the auspices of a steering committee formed in the living room of her Springside Drive residence, the Hospice of Henderson County incorporated in December 1979. To build the foundations of hospice, the ten founding volunteers would develop a speaker’s bureau in 1980 to take the mission and message of hospice to groups, churches, and organizations. The Hospice of Henderson County served its first patient in 1981.
“It seemed so logical to treat dying as a natural event, to relieve pain and suffering, and to give care and support to patients and caregivers at end of life.” Jean Hoogstra.
For more than 30 years, Jean Moulthrop Hoogstra would volunteer with the agency she helped found, maintaining an active role its growth and development. In 2010, the agency named its Flat Rock location the Jean Moulthrop Hoogstra Community Campus. In 2011, at the age of 94, she was presented with the Judith Lund Person Hospice Volunteer Award by the Carolinas Center for Hospice and End of Life Care. At the time of her death in 2012, more than 10,000 patients and their families had benefitted from her vision and determination.
Thanks to the ongoing support of the community and the generosity of donors, the Elizabeth House, a 12-bed inpatient hospice residence, opened in April 1999. Greatrex Place would open its doors in December 2005, forming a center for Four Seasons’ operations. By 2007, the capacity of the Elizabeth House expanded with the addition of the Charles W. McGrady wing.
As a result of innovative thought leaders and a progressive board of directors, Four Seasons added a palliative care program in 2003. Thanks in no small part to the efforts of Janet Bull, M.D., a pioneer in establishing best practices in hospice and palliative care we continue to share our knowledge, research and mentor others on how to provide the best palliative care possible. Two years later, in 2005, she founded Four Seasons’ nationally-recognized clinical research department with a community-based program focused on the lessening of patient suffering in a home setting. To date we are one of just a handful of palliative and hospice care organizations in the nation to participate in clinical research trials.
In 2009, Four Seasons received the prestigious Circle of Life Award honoring its innovative care. The American Hospital Association and partner agencies noted Four Seasons’ for the leading-edge palliative care delivery in rural settings, involvement in collaborative research with universities, and palliative care outreach.
The “Palliative Care Immersion Course,” an experiential program offered to clinicians from around the country, was created during this period, also due to Dr. Bull’s efforts. The Four Seasons’ Center for Excellence was named one of the top ten clinical training sites by the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM), and the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) in 2011.
Today, Four Seasons continues to set state, national and international benchmarks for palliative and hospice care. For the past decade, it has remained a top hospice provider in western North Carolina, ranking number one nationally in client satisfaction.
In May 2014, Four Seasons was notified they are the prospective recipients of a $9,596,123 grant award to pilot Medicare reform from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, a program of the federal Department of Health and Human Services. The non-profit agency emerges as the sole hospice and palliative care provider nationwide chosen to implement healthcare reform through its innovative community care model. Nationally, the model is designed to improve outcomes, increase quality of care, decrease hospital readmissions, decrease costs for patients and families and reduce tolls on Medicare.
More recently, Four Seasons has continued to grow, spreading our compassionate care services to now serve 11 counties across Western North Carolina and in 2016, Four Seasons acquired Compassionate Home Care furthering our ability to provide patients and families with a continuous care model throughout their journey.
Most recently, in 2017 Four Seasons has introduced a new service line called Care Navigation where we are able to guide families through the process of aging or being diagnosed with a serious illness. Wherever you are on this path, we are here to navigate and help you.
Your Choice. Your Voice. Four Seasons, the Care You Trust.