Our History

During the late 1970s, the Reverend Donald C. Wilson started the Lancaster community on a discussion about death, dying and hospice care through his series of articles, Terminal Candor, written from the perspective of his own illness. “Dying people need to feel in control of their dying days, to retain dignity,” said Wilson, former pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Lancaster. Terminal Candor was published in 1978, for the local newspaper, The Lancaster Intelligencer Journal, in book form. The book engaged readers in such topics as hope, fear, death and life. He drew on his personal experience with terminal cancer and his time as a pastoral leader to eloquently discuss aspects of terminal illness, and why a hospice program was needed in the Lancaster community.

The Lancaster community embraced the idea and support came from local hospitals, physicians, churches, health care and service organizations. Rev. Wilson died one month before, then Hospice of Lancaster County, cared for its first patient on March 11, 1980, the date the organization recognizes as its anniversary. That first year, 45 patients were cared for by the organization’s two staff members and six volunteers.

Today, the organization includes more than 400 employees and more than 1,000 volunteers who provide care for patients and families. Hospice & Community Care, founded as Hospice of Lancaster County, is honored to provide palliative, supportive and hospice care for nearly 500 patients and their families each day and bereavement support for nearly 9,000 children, teens and adults each year in Lancaster and York counties, in addition to parts of Adams, Berks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin and Lebanon counties.


2020  The organization achieved Level 5 status in the We Honor Veterans program, a program of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

2019    Provided Hospice and Supportive Care services for a record 3,876 patients and families.

2019    Staff increased to more than 400 full and part-time employees

2019    The 35th annual Labor Day Auction raised a record $877,000

2018    Hospice & Community Care became the largest hospice provider in Pennsylvania. The E.E. Manny Murry Center is named with a $1 million gift from The E.E. Murry Family Foundation.

2017   Hospice & Community Care provided hospice care for a record 3,200 patients and families. The organization signed a lease for an expanded office space at 235 St. Charles Way in York.

2015  Hospice & Community was selected from 2,000 hospice providers nationwide to be one of the 140 hospices to participate in the Medicare Care Choices Model demonstration project. The organization began providing outpatient palliative care at The Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute, and became the exclusive palliative care provider at WellSpan York Hospital.

2014  Hospice & Community Care opened its outpatient Palliative Medicine Clinic at 685 Good Drive, Lancaster to provide a unique level of service to patients in our community. Its Palliative Care Service, in conjunction with Lancaster General Health, received Advanced Certification for Palliative Care from the Joint Commission.

2013  The organization achieved Level 4 status in the We Honor Veterans program, a program of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

2012  Hospice of Lancaster County changes its name to Hospice & Community Care.  A new office is opened in York to better meet the needs of patients and families in York and Adams counties.  Hospice forms an affiliation with WellSpan Health to provide hospice and end-of-life care for patients and families living in York and Adams counties.

2011   Charitable care provided by Hospice & Community Care surpasses $1 million.

2010   Hospice care is extended to portions of York, Berks, Lebanon, Dauphin and Chester Counties.

2008   The Bob Fryer & Family Inpatient Center and Pathways Center for Grief & Loss opens in Mount Joy.

2006    Palliative Medicine Consultants, Hospice of Lancaster County’s physicians, is established.  The Pathways Center for Grief & Loss provides grief and loss support to the community following the mass shooting at Nickel Mines.

2005   The organization celebrates 25 years of providing care and service to the community.

2004    Hospice completes construction on a major expansion to the Hospice Center, nearly doubling its size.  The Pathways Center for Grief & Loss is created to enhance the bereavement support that Hospice is providing to more than 6,400 people annually.

1998  Governor Tom Ridge signs the Hospice Licensure Bill into law.  Hospice of Lancaster County hires its first full-time medical director.

1996   Hospice of Lancaster County opens The Essa Flory Hospice Center, the first free-standing hospice inpatient center in Pennsylvania.

1994   Robert and Agnes Flory make a leadership gift of $1,000,000 to Hospice of Lancaster County to name The Essa Flory Hospice Center in memory of their daughter.

1992   Hospice services are expanded to local nursing homes.

1991   A needs assessment is conducted to determine the community’s need for a Hospice Center.

1989   Hospice of Lancaster County moves from Fountain Avenue, Lancaster to West Airport Road in Lititz.

1988  The Donald C. Wilson Endowment Fund is established with initial contributions totaling $69,000.

1985    Hospice Medicare Certification is received.

1984   The John F. Steinman Foundation provides support to assure Hospice Medicare certification.

1980  The first Hospice patient is admitted in March.

1979   The Lancaster Foundation, Lancaster City and County Medical Society, the American Cancer Society, the Lancaster hospitals, numerous churches, and friends of Donald C. Wilson provide financial support to explore various models of hospice care and locally establish a hospice; Hospice of Lancaster County is incorporated.

1978   The hospice concept is presented to the Lancaster community when the Reverend Donald C. Wilson, from the perspective of his own illness, writes a series of articles called Terminal Candor for the Intelligencer Journal. Community agencies and hospitals move forward in planning Hospice of Lancaster County.