Our History

Joliet Area Community Hospice History at A Glance

1983 – Rosemary Bowe is named Executive Director and opens the initial office at 333 N. Hammes Street, Joliet. The first group of hospice volunteers receive training in March. The first hospice patient is admitted at Saint Joseph Medical Center (Bethany Unit) on April 1, 1983. By year end, 127 patients received care.

1984 – The Joliet Area Community Hospice Guild Volunteer fundraising group is founded.

1985 – In this year over 480 patients receive hospice services. Joliet Area Community Hospice becomes a member of United Way of Will County.

1986 – Joliet Area Community Hospice receives full licensing from the State of Illinois Department of Health. Mary Jo Smith becomes the second Executive Director and two staff members are added. In August, the offices are moved to 2112 W. Jefferson St. (Marycrest Shopping Center).

1987 – Over 820 patients receive services; average daily census is 27 patients.

1990 – In October, JACH becomes the first hospice in Will County to qualify as a provider of Medicare hospice benefits.

1991 – JACH moves into new offices, donated by Jack & Virginia Rogers in 1989, at 335 W. Jefferson St., Joliet. Volunteers spend nearly a year renovating the space to meet the agency’s needs, with donated services from the City of Joliet; Cliff Bender, architect; and many others. Berryman Transfer & Storage volunteered their time to complete the move.

1992 – In December, Duane Krieger becomes the third Executive Director.

1999 – Identifying a patient need for hospice care outside of the home and the hospital, the Board of Directors begin pursuing a dream of building the first freestanding Hospice Home inpatient unit in Illinois.

2001 – A $3 million capital campaign begins to raise the funds to build the Hospice Home.

2002 – In September, a groundbreaking ceremony is held at the site of the Hospice Home at 250 Water Stone Circle, Joliet.

2003 – Over 10,000 patients have been served to date. JACH now has 110 employees and 200 active volunteers and a daily census of 140 patients.

2004 – In May, the Joliet Area Community Hospice Home inpatient unit opens, becoming the first freestanding  unit of its kind in Illinois.

2006 – JACH admits its first patients at Provena St. Joseph Medical Center and Silver Cross Hospital.

2007 – JACH continues to grow: 12,000 patients now served since 1983, 165 patients cared for daily, 1,200 families using bereavement services, 150 staff members, and 250 active volunteers.

2012 – Over 20,000 patients cared for since 1983.  JACH celebrates its 30th year of service to Will, Grundy, Kendall, Cook, Kankakee, and DuPage counties.

2015 – Mary K. Sheehan is hired as Chief Executive Officer after a five-month period as Interim CEO.

2017Remembering from the Heart Campaign for the Hospice Home begins with a feasibility study to gauge community support for renovations and an addition to the Hospice Home inpatient unit. Results support moving forward with the capital campaign.

2018 – With spearheading by Illinois State Representative Natalie Manley (D-Joliet), legislation is passed in Illinois to increase the size of hospice inpatient units to 20 beds. JACH capital project revised to include the addition of four patient rooms (to the 20 maximum) and ability to convert four more rooms to patient rooms down the line.

JACH is growing: 32,000 patients cared for since 1983, 2,006 adult hospice patients (517 in the hospice home) in 2018, 343 adult palliative care patients, 18 children, and over 5,000 adults and children benefit from the growing number and variety of bereavement department offerings.

2019 – In April, ceremonial groundbreaking occurs with actual groundbreaking in Fall 2019. Expected completion of addition and renovations is Winter 2020-2021.

Lightways Yellow Star