by Rhonda Osborne, CEO

The Board of Directors, at the suggestion of Hospice of Marshall County-Shepherd’s Cove’s leadership team, has voted to conduct research, evaluate, and change the name for this agency.  You may be wondering why we would want to change the name.   The simple answer to that question is the agency has outgrown our name.  When Gayle Roadruck worked diligently to establish a county-based non-profit hospice agency in 1982, the name Hospice of Marshall County (HMC), described this agency perfectly.  It was a hospice provider to serve the residents of Marshall County.  and the name implied a non-profit agency because ALL hospice providers, at that time, were non-profit.  However, by 1990, residents of DeKalb and Etowah County were requesting the services of Hospice of Marshall County.   In 2007, Shepherd’s Cove (SC), our 10-bed inpatient facility, broadened our name and in many ways complicated our name.  And, our state designated service area includes not just Marshall County, but eight other counties.  Those eight additional counties are Etowah, DeKalb, Jackson, Madison, Morgan, Cullman, Blount, and St. Clair.

As Shepherd’s Cove Hospice ventured into our Vision 2020 capital campaign, there were many interviews conducted with community persons in most of the counties we serve.  Most did not realize we served residents of those eight counties because our name is Hospice of Marshall County.  The bottom line is our name has now become a barrier to accessing our exceptional kind of care.

On the pro side of our name, it carries with it a positive reputation.  Our team has worked hard for 34 years to provide an exceptional quality of hospice care.  That is the reason we serve in nine counties – people have heard about us and have requested our services.

So, we are currently engaged with a company who has successfully led other companies through a name change process.  We wanted you to know about this in advance so when a name change is announced, you will know it is not because we changed ownership.  It is simply because we want to reduce any barriers, real or perceived, for people to receive our care.  We believe our team is different.  We believe in serving with a servant’s heart.  We believe our service and care is of great value.  We want to provide that care to all within those nine counties who want and need our care.  Ultimately, we believe this leads to growth and greater sustainability, as well as a stronger financial foundation.  We would love to invest in the communities of those we serve with even more service.  That also requires a firm financial foundation.

Many of you are familiar with William Shakespeare’s quote from Romeo and Juliet, “What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet!”   We know the name Hospice of Marshall County can be sweet to those we serve.  However, another name will not change the sweetness of our level of commitment and service.

We will keep you, our trusted supporters, abreast of this significant name change process.