Beginning in April 1998, the American Hospital Association (AHA) developed and implemented an annual awards program to recognize organizations providing exemplary end-of-life care.
AHA selected the name "Circle of Life Award: Celebrating Innovation in End-of-Life Care." The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA), and the American Medical Association (AMA) cosponsored the awards program.
The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) national program, Targeted End-of-Life Projects Initiative.
The Health Research and Educational Trust (HRET), Washington, an affiliate of AHA, managed the grants.
From 2000 to 2007, the last year of the awards:
- Circle of Life awards have honored 68 programs. These include 25 main award winners and 43 recipients of citations of honor.
- Honorees represent a range of end-of-life settings and approaches to care. Winners have included a hospice in a Louisiana prison that relies on a cadre of inmate volunteers (2000 winner) and a hospital-wide palliative care program for children in New York (2004 winner). Full stories of all of the award recipients appear by award year on the AHA website.