Going Green Aligns with Hospice Mission


​At Hospice of the Western Reserve, green business practices are a way of life that allow us to provide the best care for our patients, families and community. Best of all, the resulting cost savings can be diverted into patient care.

The Hospice of the Western Reserve Green Team convened in 2009. Led by Kathy Gatto, Vice President of Support Services, Green Team efforts started off very hands-on. Members donned hazmat suits and did a dumpster dive to find out what type of waste was being produced and where sustainability efforts could make the biggest impact. While messy indeed, it was an effective way to assess existing practices and to set goals for immediate improvement.

Single stream recycling kicked off at the Lakeshore Campus. All teams were urged to use personal coffee mugs and disposable cups were phased out. Foam trays were banned and old-school light bulbs were swapped with high-efficiency bulbs. Low flow toilets were installed to reduce water waste and energy saving motion sensors replaced light switches.

“To encourage our staff to embrace change, the Green Team did the math and demonstrated how operating money could be used for patient care,” Kathy said. “Buying a case of disposable coffee cups, for example, costs the same as renting a Geri chair for a month.”

Food waste is costly to dispose of because of its weight. So hospitality staff found innovative ways to manage the garbage. Onsite composting produces nutritious top dressing for the memorial gardens at the hospice houses. Fruit and vegetable peels donated to two nearby farms keep the goats and chickens happy there.

Sustainability efforts range from small—celebrating Earth Day by handing out misprinted, donated coffee mugs—to true flagship projects, like building Ames Family Hospice House. Our west side hospice care center opened in 2012 and was awarded LEED Gold Certification. Two years later, Ames Family Hospice House received an “Emerald Partner in Change” award from Practice Greenhealth, a national nonprofit organization devoted to promoting environmental stewardship and best practices in the health care community.

That same year, David Simpson Hospice House, earned a “Partner for Change Award” for continuously improving and expanding upon mercury elimination, waste reduction, recycling and source reduction programs. In 2015, HMC Hospice of Medina County and Hospice of the Western Reserve merged. The Gold LEED Certification of Medina’s newly built inpatient unit was a factor in the decision to partner.

Responsible environmental stewardship demands innovation and the willingness to make changes. We’ve learned that even small changes can make a big difference.

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Northern Ohio's Hospice of Choice

More than 1,000 Hospice of the Western Reserve employees and 3,000 volunteers live and work side-by-side in the same neighborhoods with our patients and families. We are privileged to have cared for more than 100,000 Northern Ohioans since our inception.