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Bristol Hospice-A Model for Progress in the Changing Health Care Landscape

When Christie Franklin was hired in April 2006 to create Bristol Hospice, LLC, she began with the goal of creating a hospice company with a centralized system focused on outcomes and designed to meet the needs of a community. Ten years later, Bristol Hospice, LLC, has changed the way hospice care is delivered and has set a high standard for end-of-life care by maintaining the same mission of providing patient-centered care.

While building the organization, it was important to Franklin that Bristol was a hospice company focused on increasing quality of life at the end of a patient’s life. This idea is reflected in the trademark Bristol green, the same vibrant green visible on the mountains outside the Bristol corporate offices in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Following the creation of Bristol Hospice, there was rapid growth over the first few years as the organization responded to the need for hospice care in various communities in Utah, California and Hawaii. Since the beginning, Franklin cites the support she received from CHAP was key when building Bristol’s strong foundation. Since then Bristol has expanded to cover Georgia, Oregon, Texas and Oklahoma.    

“I can’t stress how important CHAP was when building our framework,” said Franklin, “CHAP allowed us to stay true to our core values and provided resources such as the self-study which allowed our caregivers to understand our standards and mission.”

CHAP President and CEO, Karen Collishaw, had an opportunity to visit the Bristol headquarters earlier in the year. “The level of expertise and obvious passion for the mission that I saw during my visit was incredibly impressive,” said Collishaw, “their commitment to patients and their families really sets an example to strive for in the industry.”

Over the past decade, Bristol Hospice has not only set a high standard for hospice care, they have raised the bar through a unique approach to end-of-life care.  Since 2006 CHAP has been proud to partner with Bristol, providing support and guidance through accreditation. 

While CHAP is part of Bristol’s success, another factor is their expert leadership and staff. According to Bristol Board member Dr. James Mason, the organization’s steady growth is a result of good management. Dr. Mason was part of the team which initially decided to create Bristol, and who initially recruited Franklin to do the job. Along with Franklin, the Board members at Bristol have a high level of broad expertise, several are recognized on a national level for their work in the healthcare and hospice field. In addition, the corporate leadership team at Bristol collectively has over 100 years of hospice experience.

“In certain areas, only a small proportion of deaths were taking place at home, many were taking place in hospitals,” said Dr. Mason, who sought to develop hospice care to populations where there was a serious need. According to Mason, Bristol is set apart by the passion of its employees. “The focus of meeting the needs of our patients spans every level of the company.”

Others in the industry have identified Franklin herself as one of the factors that makes Bristol unique. CHAP Board Member Katheen Dodd has known Franklin for many years and watched as she built Bristol.

“Christie is an influencer in the hospice care industry and is dedicated to doing the right thing always.” Says Dodd, “She was, and still is, committed to building a quality company, and can easily paint a picture of her vision.”

From the beginning, the framework of Bristol was designed to meet the CHAP Standards of Excellence, which has helped Bristol consistently strive to exceed industry standards as they have expanded to cover seven states. At present, Bristol is currently serving approximately 1,000 patients.  “I can’t imagine doing what we have done without CHAP, having the strength and consistency of the CHAP Standards of Excellence, and allowing us to build on that has made us who we are,” says Franklin. 

Franklin believes that as the industry centers more on the continuum of care, Bristol has a huge opportunity to continue to serve communities through patient-centered end-of-life care. Along with these opportunities, it is important to consider the potential for challenges and changes in the industry. Franklin believes it is important to invest in technology and to strengthen infrastructure now to prepare for changes down the road.
In addition, collaboration will be as important as ever. “As an industry, we must work together across the care continuum to embrace technology, while maintaining personal contact with the patients, who are at the center of everything we do,” says Franklin.

As CHAP celebrates 50 years, we are thrilled to have had the opportunity to partner with Bristol over the course of their first 10 years.  As they continue to grow in the coming decade, we look forward to learning from their success and continue to be their partner of choice in accreditation, as we strive together to succeed and evolve in the ever-changing healthcare landscape.

In November 2006, a tradition was started to ring a bell whenever anything significant or special happens. The Bristol Bell rang recently to celebrate 10 years, and CHAP is optimistic that the staff and leadership will have many more opportunities to ring it over the next decade.  

From left: Charles ( Chuck) Gonzales, President/CEO, Rich Dahlquist, COO, Christie Franklin, Chairman, Karen Collishaw, CHAP President and CEO, Jeanette Dove, CQO, Chief Quality Officer 

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