VITAS Healthcare Supports Hospice Care for Homeless

Categories: People & Places.

Sacramento, CA, Nov. 29, 2018 — VITAS® Healthcare, the nation’s leading provider of end-of-life care, presented a gift of $25,000 to support the mission of Joshua’s House, a nonprofit hospice house opening in 2019 for Sacramento’s homeless population.

A joint event was held at the site for Joshua’s House, 1501 North C Street on Wednesday, Nov. 28 during National Hospice and Palliative Care Month.

Marlene von Friederichs-Fitzwater, founder and executive director of the Health Communication Research Institute, Inc. and Joshua’s House, accepted VITAS’ gift and helped distribute 300 gloves, knit hats and socks purchased by VITAS and its employees for local homeless attendees.

“Joshua’s House is filling a large, urgent need in the Sacramento community as the first such facility on the West Coast and the seventh in the country, and we’re happy to be a part of the solution,” said Lena Nilsson, general manager of VITAS Healthcare’s Sacramento program.

Joshua’s House is a privately funded project founded by von Friederichs-Fitzwater, professor emeritus at California State University, Sacramento and retired professor with the University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, after her 34-year-old grandson passed away of a drug overdose while homeless on the streets of Omaha, Nebraska. Compelled to do something constructive with her grief, von Friederichs-Fitzwater spearheaded Joshua’s House—an inpatient hospice house for homeless men and women in the Sacramento area.

“For homeless people who are terminally ill and have nowhere else to go, the idea of dying with dignity might seem out of reach,” said von Friederichs-Fitzwater. “Thanks to the support of organizations like VITAS, we are one step closer to making this a reality and bringing comfort to the terminally ill homeless population.”

VITAS Healthcare – 40 Years Strong
Established in 1978, VITAS® Healthcare is a pioneer and leader in the American hospice movement. Headquartered in Miami, Florida, VITAS (pronounced VEE-tahs) operates 47 hospice programs in 14 states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin) and the District of Columbia. VITAS employs 12,145 professionals who care for terminally ill patients daily, primarily in the patients’ homes, and also in the company’s 27 inpatient hospice units as well as in hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living communities/residential care facilities for the elderly. At the conclusion of the third quarter of 2018, VITAS reported an average daily census of 17,976. Visit

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