Hospice History

Story provided by Judith Karman Hospice from their May 2017 newsletter.

The hospice concept is ancient.  One of the earliest hospices we know of was in Jerusalem in 1046, the Hospice of St. John. It was a way station where weary and sick pilgrims could stop to refresh themselves or receive medical care. Throughout recorded history, there have been hospices in one form or another, often run by religious orders or churches.

The first hospice program in the United States was developed in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1974. Since 1974, over 3,000 hospices have opened across the United States and have formed an organization called the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. We, at Judith Karman Hospice, are proud to be members of this organization and a part of this worldwide hospice movement.

Judith Mueller Karman was a young wife and mother who worked as a Patient Representative at Stillwater Medical Center. She directed a support group developed to assist patients and their families in times of crisis. When she knew she was dying of cancer, Judith Karman asked that a memorial be established to fund a hospice for Stillwater. She died on April 15, 1979, and our hospice, an extension of her genuine love and concern for others, was born.

At first our hospice office was housed at the Stillwater Medical Center.  In 1982 as a result of healthy growth, it was moved to Postal Plaza, at 720 S. Husband, and was incorporated as a nonprofit agency. In 1984, we were the first hospice in the state of Oklahoma to be certified for Medicare reimbursement, and we are available to help other hospices in the state achieve this goal.

In March of 1994, the office was again moved to larger quarters at 824 S. Main.  At the same time, a resale shop, named Karman Korner Resale Shop, was opened to help defray hospice expenses.  In June of 2000, the office moved to 915 S. Main, which is now our present location. Karman Korner Resale Shop moved to its present location at 819 S. Main in 2006.

Judith Karman Hospice is funded by Medicare Hospice reimbursement, third party reimbursement, grants, and donations.  No patient is charged for our services, and no patient or family ever receives a bill from us.  If the patient has no insurance, then the agency absorbs the cost of the care given.  This is a source of pride to the staff, board, and volunteers, and is in keeping with the true spirit of the hospice concept of care.