Founder of Hospice of the Western Reserve Remembered

Elizabeth-Pitorak-(1).jpgElizabeth Ford Pitorak, MSN, CSN, FPCN, died at home Sunday after a long illness. In 1978, Elizabeth founded what is today Hospice of the Western Reserve, the first hospice in Ohio’s Western Reserve region.
Ms. Pitorak is locally, nationally, and internationally recognized as a pioneer and expert in the hospice field. She worked in the field of hospice and pain management for over 35 years, giving lectures to multidisciplinary groups and publishing articles on end-of-life nursing. Ms. Pitorak served on both the membership and foundation Boards of Directors of the Hospice & Palliative Nurses Association. She also traveled to South Korea and Slovakia to teach hospice and palliative care philosophy.

Ms. Pitorak received her bachelor’s degree from the Ohio State University and her master’s degree in nursing from Case Western Reserve University. She received the Award for Excellence from the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing Alumni Association and the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Ohio State University College of Nursing Alumni Society.

Ms. Pitorak was the project director for Project Safe Conduct, which received the 2002 Circle of Life Award for its innovative model of palliative care. Among her many regional and national accolades, Ms. Pitorak was honored as one of 100 Nurse Transformers by the Ohio State Nursing Alumni Association in 2014.

Today, Hospice of the Western Reserve is one of the ten largest nonprofit hospice agencies in the United States. Ms. Pitorak had expanded her life work as the Executive Director and founder of Pathways for Pets, a palliative care and hospice program with the mission to relieve suffering and promote quality of life for companion animals facing a life-limiting illness. Using the human hospice model, the same principles are being applied to companion animals in creating pet hospice, a relatively new program for animals.

Hospice of the Western Reserve will continue to honor Elizabeth Pitorak with its commitment to providing exceptional care for patients and their families.

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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.