North Shore University Hospital among Eight Facilities Nationwide Honored for Excellence in Palliative Care

MANHASSET, NY – North Shore University Hospital’s (NSUH) Palliative Care program was named a Circle of Life Award honoree at last week’s 21st Annual Leadership Summit of the Health Forum and the American Hospital Association, which was held in San Diego, CA.  NSUH was highlighted for its superior commitment to caring for people with serious illness and their families.  Special recognition was awarded to the NSUH palliative care team for unique collaboration and visionary leadership in palliative care program development across the 15-hospital North Shore-LIJ Health System.

The Circle of Life Award celebrates exemplary programs across the country in palliative and end-of-life care.  Three facilities were named as award winners and NSUH was among five hospitals that received the national citation of honor. 

Palliative care refers to medical care provided by a team of specially trained doctors, nurses, social workers and others for people advanced illnesses. This specialized care provides an extra layer of support for seriously ill patients of any age and can be delivered at any point in the patient’s illness beginning at the time of diagnosis.  Palliative care teams focus on the relief of pain and suffering with a particular focus on quality of life.  Studies show people with serious illness live longer when they receive palliative care.

NSUH’s Palliative Care Program was among the first in the country to receive advanced certification from The Joint Commission, which accredits and certifies more than 19, 000 healthcare organizations and programs in the country.  NSUH is one of only 44 hospitals in the nation to receive the prestigious Advanced Certification for Palliative Care awarded by The Joint Commission.
Opened in 2008, NSUH’s Palliative Care Unit is a specialized unit focused on the relief of complex pain and suffering.  Patients cared for in this unit have symptoms that cannot be managed in any other setting.  This family centered unit has 10 private rooms, open visitation, pet therapy and unlimited visiting hours.  The unit features a central water feature, toys to make young loved ones comfortable, a music lending library, gourmet food and a well-stocked minibar.

 “Our palliative care unit is nationally recognized for expert care of patients with serious illness and their families,” said Dana Lustbader, MD, section head of palliative medicine at NSUH, who accepted a citation of honor on behalf of the hospital’s palliative medicine team.  “The unit is unique in that patients may be on life support,  including ventilators.  It is also the primary teaching site for our physicians in training and sets the hospital standard for palliative care delivery.”

The 2013 awards are supported, in part, by the California HealthCare Foundation, based in Oakland, CA, and the Cambia Health Foundation.  Major sponsors of the 2013 awards are the American Hospital Association, the Catholic Health Association, and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization & National Hospice Foundation.  The awards are cosponsored by the Alliance for Excellence in Hospice and Palliative Nursing, The American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and the National Association of Social Workers. The Circle of Life Award is a program administered by the AHA’s Health Research & Educational Trust.

“This year’s Circle of Life honorees exemplify the best in health care – providing compassionate care and helping patients and families facing complex health challenges,” said AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock. “These innovative programs address critical needs so that patients can manage their health and live as fully as possible. They also reflect the different needs of their communities as they provide the best care possible for those they serve.”

Circle of Life nominations were reviewed by national leaders from medicine, nursing, social work and health administration.  Eligible palliative care programs were required to demonstrate superior performance in:

  • effective, timely, safe, efficient, equitable patient centered palliative care;
  • innovative approaches to serve as sustainable, replicable models for the field; and
  • training programs to enhance palliative care skills.

For more information on the Circle of Life Award, visit
About North Shore-LIJ Health System
The nation's 14th-largest healthcare system, North Shore-LIJ delivers world-class clinical care throughout the New York metropolitan area, pioneering research at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and a visionary approach to medical education highlighted by the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine. North Shore-LIJ cares for people at every stage of life at 16 hospitals and nearly 400 outpatient physician practices throughout the region. North Shore-LIJ’s owned hospitals and long-term care facilities house more than 6,000 beds, employ more than 10,000 nurses and have affiliations with more than 9,400 physicians. With a workforce of more than 46,000, North Shore-LIJ is the largest employer on Long Island and the third-largest private employer in New York City.  For more information, go to

About the AHA
The AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the improvement of health in their communities.  The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which include nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks and other providers of care and 43,000 individual members.  Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends.  For more information visit the Web site at


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