Shepherd’s Cove Hospice humble beginnings grew out of the vision of Gayle Roadruck from Guntersville who believed with all her heart that families nearing the end of life deserved more support than was being offered in Marshall County. The City of Guntersville showed their support of this effort in many ways.
The grassroots, all-volunteer, non-profit agency started in 1982 in what is now a closet in the Guntersville Recreation Center.
Bobby Curry, one of the original volunteers, remembers the small area had one window. She made a curtain for this “office” to give it a more home-like feel. The room was just large enough for a desk, a filing cabinet, a phone and two chairs.
The entire county pulled together to get Shepherd’s Cove Hospice started. Medical professionals and pharmacists donated hours of their time to train the volunteers. Volunteers in the early years did everything from medication administration to personal care.
There were no registered nurses in the very beginning and a census of 10 patients was considered very large. In 1988, Shepherd’s Cove Hospice became a Medicare certified agency and at that time offered services of professional nurses, social workers, and hospice care assistants in addition to volunteer and chaplain support. It was at this time that hospice care became a benefit of the Medicare program and Shepherd’s Cove Hospice began accepting Medicare, Medicaid and private insurances. Since then, we have become a partner the United Way of Marshall County, which assists us in serving those who have no insurance.
The cost of providing this un-reimbursed care is rising each year. As a non-profit agency, Shepherd’s Cove Hospice has never turned any one away that qualified for hospice services based on their inability to pay, therefore, we are dependent upon public support through donations, memorials, and fundraisers.
The physical location of the office changed over the years as the program grew, but remained in Guntersville until 1997 when the offices were relocated to Hwy 431 in Albertville, Alabama. In 2007, we moved to our current location at 408 Martling Road in Albertville and opened our 10-bed hospice inpatient facility. The facility was built to provide additional options for hospice patients to manage uncontrolled symptoms or for when a respite stay is needed. Shepherd’s Cove is a result of community support through monetary gifts and prayer support.