The future of Crossroads is extremely bright and exciting. We have been told that we are the 5th largest hospice “chain” in America. I used the word “chain” for lack of a better term. We are still single family owned and every location is a family member. We used to do exhaustive marketing research to determine which location would give us the best chance for success. At this point, because the response from each of the communities we serve is so positive in reference to the differences in our program; we now look at locations that are the best fit for our management and service. We honestly feel that every community deserves our care and hopefully we can get there as soon as possible. Because of the enormous investment and personnel resources we put into each location, we want to make sure they realize what it means to be a Crossroads site, and when they realize the difference, the success they experience is amazing. I feel we truly have a positive impacteveryone we come in contact with, and the pressure to maintain and exceed those expectations is what drives our management team.
One of our wonderful Chaplains shared this touching poem with us in dedication to K9 Officer Fox of the Plymouth township Police Department, who was tragically killed on the evening of September 14, 2012
Thea writes, “These beautiful words were written by Jenny Peery, the wife of a K9 officer killed in California. Officer Fox’s partner, Nick, was also injured when officer Fox was shot in the head last week and I am sure would have taken the bullet if he could have. Officer Fox is the first cop to be shot in Montgomery County in 20 years, and the first ever for Plymouth Township, so everyone is taking it very hard, and I thought this poem would be fitting for Crossroads Philadelphia, since we are located in Plymouth Meeting, to offer its condolences. I have a great respect for the police, being a former ER nurse. Now on the streets of Philly seeing patients every day, I know many cops who have my back. This poem hit the nail on the head when I think about the police who put their lives on the line every day and get very little recognition or respect. No one realizes the magnitude of what they do.”
Volunteers at Crossroads Hospice are special people who make a difference when they generously share their talents, time, and compassion with patients facing a terminal illness, and their families.
These “Ultimate Givers” visit patients in their homes, in assisted living facilities, and in nursing facilities. Volunteer duties vary with patient needs. A volunteer may provide companionship, read to a patient, play games, assist with errands, or provide a moment of rest for a family member. Other specialized volunteer opportunities include pet therapy and art therapy.
Volunteers play an important role in two unique gifts that Crossroads provides for patients and families. The Gift of a Day, inspired by Jim Stovall’s book, “The Ultimate Gift” asks a patient to describe his perfect day, then volunteers and staff work to make that day a reality. It may be as simple as a family holiday party or as complex as arranging a flight in a World War II era airplane.
Today, Crossroads is ready to really make an impact on the hospice industry, as if we haven’t already. During this stage of our development, so far we have added: St. Louis, Missouri; and, Lenexa, Kansas.
Looking at a question that Clayton and I asked ourselves in 2001, also defines us today. “How can we stay the way we are and not become like the big boys in the industry?” That question inspired a management philosophy that has kept us closer to the staff, not further away. It seemed to us that the more successful companies become, the more direct management gets delegated and the principals become more isolated. Also, while we were still developing our ideals in care, we were proud of our ability to change directions almost instantaneously. Now it is increasingly difficult, if not impractical, to remain as an impetuous child and change on a whim. With over 2,800 patients on service daily, we owe themconsistency of service delivery and promises kept. While our love of innovation hasn’t changed, I feel that we can change direction, or more to the point, add to on programs without disrupting our care.
Adolescence 2002 – 2008
Adolescence is a word that brings several different emotions to mind. In humans we may think of: growth, hormonal, spirited, gaining self-awareness, stubborn, enthusiastic, etc. At Crossroads, I’m not sure we were much different. Clayton and I went into these new markets with never a thought of failure. “Why wouldn’t everyone want us there?” was our question. We have had physicians in different markets ask us why we would ever even consider coming to their state or their town. One gentleman even called us Mavericks! Well, call us adolescents or egotistical, we have never thought of resting or stopping and we were constantly evolving as a company and as individuals. From 2002 to 2008 we opened: Atlanta, Georgia; Cincinnati, Ohio; Northeast Ohio; Dayton, Ohio; Cleveland, Ohio; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. But more than just locations, our company discovered something in the potential for service that changed the face of Crossroads forever.
Some of the additional programs had begun in those early years, but only as we taught others what we were doing did we really realize what we had. I think it was because that when we started, it was rare to have employees from other hospices work for us. Partly that was on purpose. We didn’t want “old school” thought in our “fresh ideals.” As hospice, as an industry, grew, it became nearly impossible to find people with no experience. Also, as word grew about Crossroads, more and more of these people came on board. It was in them that we saw what we had.
The beginning of the Crossroads Hospice story starts in a nursing home in Oklahoma City in May of 1990. I began my career in healthcare as a nursing home aide. Before I went on to the floor that first day, my trainer told me that my relationship with these residents would be the last new one they would have before meeting their maker, and to make it a “good one.” That had a profound impact on me and the way I viewed my job. I wasn't just giving baths, dressing, or feeding, but rather it was the communication between the residents and I that was the key to their happiness. After that day, I had the idea that, to really succeed in healthcare, I needed to be as experienced as possible in all fields of services.