The Nerdery - Overnight Website Challenge

Minneapolis 2013,

Hospice of the Twin Cities

Hospice of the Twin Cities (HOTC) was acquired in 2002 by the Minnesota Visiting Nurse Agency (MVNA) and HOTC was converted to a non-profit in 2004. HOTC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of MVNA and HOTC has its own 501(c) (3) from the IRS. MVNA is a non-profit public health organization founded in 1902 and a safety net provider for thousands of clients ranging from pregnant teens and infants, to older adults.

The idea of the hospice for the terminally ill comes from England and was accepted by the American health care system in 1963. According to the Webster’s New World Dictionary hospice is a shelter for travelers. Hospice aids individuals on their human journey through life into death. HOTC helps transition patients and families along this path.

HOTC offers comprehensive care focused on easing the physical, emotional, and spiritual pain that often accompanies terminal illness. Services are provided wherever the patient calls home, be that a private home, apartment complex, assisted living, group home or long-term care facility. Care offered to residents of long-term care facilities who are facing a terminal illness is carried out in partnership with the facility staff. The hospice team provides state-of-the-art symptom management, as well as emotional and spiritual support for patients and their families. Care delivery location in 2011 was comprised of 55% in skilled nursing facilities, 36% in private homes, and 9% in residential care settings.

HOTC served 685 patients and their families in 2011, provided 28,779 total visits by all the disciplines, and the average length of stay by a patient was 84 days.

Patients must meet two criteria to enter into hospice care:

• The patient has a limited life expectancy, usually six (6) months or less, as certified by their attending physician.

• The patient understands that hospice care is palliative, focused on pain and symptom control, rather than a cure for the disease.

Offering outstanding care, the hospice team members are dedicated interdisciplinary professionals who specialize in meeting the individualized needs of terminally ill patients and their family members. The care teams meet weekly and coordinate the provision of medical equipment, supplies, therapies, and medications for pain relief and symptom management related to terminal diagnosis. The team is comprised of: The attending physician, Hospice Medical Directors, Hospice Nurses, Social Workers, Home Health Aides and Homemakers, Certified Therapy Dog and Handler Teams, Music Therapists, Massage Therapists, Trained Volunteers, Chaplains, and Bereavement Counselors.

HOTC is a Medicare-certified, CHAP accredited hospice program and is licensed in the state of Minnesota. CHAP is an independent, not-for-profit, accrediting body for community-based health care organizations that was created in 1965. Hospice services are paid for by Medicare (Part A), Medical Assistance, MinnesotaCare, and commercial insurance. HOTC works with patients and their families to identify ways to pay for services. Care is provided regardless of ability to pay. Some services are not covered by any payment providers, such as, pet, music and massage therapy, bereavement, or volunteer coordination. HOTC must rely on charitable donations to provide a well rounded slate of therapies and for care of those without payor sources.

HOTC provides services in the following Minnesota counties: Anoka, Carver, Chisago, Dakota, Hennepin, Isanti, Pine, Ramsey, Rice, Scott, Sherburne, Sibley, Washington, and Wright. In 2011, HOTC expanded hospice services to the Mankato area serving Blue Earth, Le Sueur, and Nicollet counties. The hospice program for the Mankato location is called Hospice of the Valley.

HOTC websites were created by staff and dedicated volunteers. The main HOTC website was created over eight years ago. It is important that patients, family, community partners, and supporters feel a connection between the hospice services and their unique community. In 2011, when HOTC expanded services to Mankato a second website was created. That website is:

What new functionality we are looking for

We need a welcoming and modern looking website that will be viewed as caring and that instills trust. The two current hospice websites have different looks and functionality. We are looking for the creation of a new professional looking, high-quality, eye-catching website for HOTC. We would like this main site to be a template that can be easily adapted and customized for the related Hospice of the Valley website, and any other future websites for geographic areas HOTC expands to. We are looking for some consistency so easier to manage multiple websites. We would like one that can be quickly and frequently updated. We need new pages. We need a website that serves multiple constituencies: patients newly diagnosed with a terminal illness; family members of patients in hospice; volunteers; students/interns; supporters (individuals, corporations, foundations, civic groups); and community partners. We desperately need the website to have the ability to let various constituents complete and submit forms through the website.

Our dream website will:

1) Include the following types of tabs and pages that has natural page flows and easily navigated:

• Home Page/Welcome

• About Us

• Patients

• Caregivers

• Volunteer (include ability to complete a secure online application

and registration for multiple training events)

• Health Care Professional(include ability to complete online patient


• Holiday Lights and Limos

• Grief Support (include ability to register for events such as

memorial services and sign-up to receive our bereavement newsletter

for support)

• Contribute (with online donation mechanism for gifts, memorials and


• Career Opportunities (include employment applications)

• Resources (with ability to have embedded video, downloadable PDFs,

and hyperlinks to resources beyond our website)

• News (that allows for social media feeds that can update

automatically and hyperlink to agency LinkedIn profile)

• Contact Us

2) Have the ability to incorporate blog postings on the Home, Patients, Caregivers, Health Care Professional and Grief Support pages to foster online community-building.

3) Incorporate flash to show pictures that rotate or change.

4) Enables pages to be easily updated, added, and removed.

5) Allows for text enlargement when needed by the viewer.

6) Make each unique visitor feel like an honored guest who had a good experience while visiting.

Our dream partnership: A team during The Nerdery Overnight Web Challenge!

What we bring to the challenge: Passion for our mission, enthusiasm to learn, team players, a sense of humor, and a can-do attitude!

How the new functionality will help

The current website is not appealing and does not convey the comfort and professionalism offered by HOTC and a new website would remedy this. A new website will extend our services to more people, help us be responsive in a timely manner, and support constituents. It will streamline administrative processes by allowing for forms to be completed, donations to be made, and event sign-ups to be hassle free and available at anytime that fits constituents’ schedules. The website will become a teaching tool for patients newly diagnosed with a terminal illness and provide the knowledge that help is available to guide them and their family members on this part of life’s journey. It will allow Hospice of the Twin Cities to respectfully serve patients and affirm life. It will extend support to bereaved family members and friends. It will help educate the general public that dying is a normal process of life. Hospice of the Twin Cities provides services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We need a tool that supports us and our constituents 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

How our organization will use the technology

Who will use the technology

Before & After Snapshots

Thumbnail_1 Thumbnail_2

48 Messages from Supporters

2013-02-01 20:46:53 UTC

This is an amazing group of people dedicated to caring for those at the end-of-life. Hospice touches so many lives in so many ways and is all about caring for our community during a most difficult time. A new website would help HOTC extend their reach in supporting patients and families and partners in caring as they walk this journey together!

2013-01-31 22:52:02 UTC

compassionate care that gives back to the community

2013-02-01 00:19:03 UTC

My husband passed away a year ago and Hospice was our rock. Please help us thank all the caring volunteers and staff by helping them with their website. It will help them and future patients like my husband who need their care, support and compassion. Thank you.

2013-02-01 01:43:04 UTC

I was a hospice volunteer for their Lights and Limo program and hosted a patient and her family for a night-time tour of holiday lights. The Lights and Limos program creates a joyous atmosphere for a family to share their last holiday together. A lot of care and planning by staff and volunteers makes this holiday offering unique, as Hospice of the Twin Cities encircles their patients with compassionate care.

2013-02-01 19:36:48 UTC

Dedicated employees providing a vital service to our community!

2013-02-01 19:42:08 UTC

Compassionate volunteers, nurses, therapists and other staff. Please help them with their website!

2013-02-01 19:46:36 UTC

We at Hospice of the Twin Cities have a great mission. I just wish our website refected us and our mission a little better. It is a little embarassing when I have to refer donors over to our "donation" page. It is so dated and ugly - please help us get a website I can be proud of to refer people to! Thank you!!

2013-02-01 20:03:39 UTC

I've been a hospice volunteer for two years, and I can't think of a more worthy recipient.

2013-02-01 20:08:40 UTC

I would like to see a website that is has an element of simplicity and modern. Not the usual purple colors and images of hearts. Something more zen....It's a top notch organisation, ahead of it's time! The website should reflect this too. Thank you!

2013-02-01 20:22:40 UTC

The above and beyond attitude of this group of people is unbelievable!

2013-02-01 20:37:39 UTC

I am the owner of one of the homes the Lights and Limo program stops at. It is a great joy and honor to meet some of the staff and volunteers who are so dedicated to this program. It is heartwarming to see the joy that this program brings to the patients and their family members. Please help the hospice create a website that will convey their message of who they are and how they can be of service to those entering the final stage of their life, and the family members who will be left to carry on.

2013-02-01 20:37:56 UTC

Yesterday I was walking through the hallway at Hospice Of The TC and one of the hospice therapy dogs that was in the office with the dog's owner, a hospice nurse, walked up to me. The dog's name was Bella. Bella The Dog was so interested in me, caring, compassionate, and attentive while I pet her that Bella and her owner left quite the impression on me. I encountered in that moment one more of the great efforts that Hospice of The TC makes to genuinely care for those that they serve. So many more people could be served by this wonderful organization if an updated, creatively designed website reflected their efforts to reach others who are in need. Please help.

2013-02-01 20:42:28 UTC

I can not think of a more deserving group of people to get a new website! The current one does not reflect the amazing company, staff and volunteers that dedicate there time to work at HOTC! This would help so many people looking into hospice and give them the positive, welcoming and caring image that HOTC deserves to have!

2013-02-01 20:44:04 UTC

PLEASE! TURN IT UP--the passion and the love that is meant to be oozing from this website! A website is meant to reflect the purpose and personality of its organization...AND...its people! How great would it be if this site could somehow convey a gentle hand or a hug for the souls who happen across it? Please, help us help them! THANK YOU!!

2013-02-01 22:05:07 UTC

Hospice provides such a kind and needed service to the community.

2013-02-01 22:25:42 UTC

I have worked with HOTC for 12+ years and they are top-notch in providing excellent care. A state of the art web site would go well with their state of the art services and care.

2013-02-01 22:38:54 UTC

It would be wonderful to see a functional website for all the different users. This is a wonderful organization that have very special people caring for the needs of their patients and families.

2013-02-01 22:51:49 UTC

The HOTC is made up of dedicated people who offer so much to individuals and their families. The help and service they offer needs a website that reflects that and lets our community know all that they do.

2013-02-02 01:17:36 UTC

These are the most compassionate, caring and idealistic people I have ever had the good fortune to volunteer with. They provide a critical service, not only to their patients, but are caregivers for the family members as well, helping them cherish the time they have left with their loved one, and preparing for the final days ahead.

2013-02-02 05:21:29 UTC

This organization brings such comfort and security to the family and the patient at the end of life. Our website needs great help. It needs to have eye appeal and be user friendly. Our staff and volunteers swoop in once a patient is on our program and showers them with love and attention. We need help in raising awareness of our services to continue to do this. Please help us out!!!

2013-02-02 07:44:42 UTC

Support those who who help individuals and families in the end of life passage!

2013-02-02 15:19:11 UTC
Mary Ann

LOVE, PURE LOVE is how I describe HOTC - please help them in developing a stellar website that will embody the compassion and empathy that the staff and volunteers so generously give to every client and family member served.

2013-02-03 03:09:37 UTC
Terri Jones

I have participated with my dear friend, MaryAnn Prange, an 11th hour volunteer, in the Limo and Lights program.

The staff and caring volunteers deserve to have this opportunity to increase their visibility to the community.

A streamlined interactive website will connect all in our community who are in need of hospice with committed caregivers!

I am an RN as well as the Special Events Coordinator for Park Nicollet and I continue to be in debt to my friend MaryAnn for showing me what it is to be dedicated to comforting and "being" there gently giving patients what they truly need, to not be alone and in pain.

It has been said "Its not the days in our life, but the life in our days."

I personally am not afraid of dying. I just fear dying alone and in pain.

As long as HOTC is here in our community, we can rest and know someone will be there. Like my dear friend MaryAnn.

Terri Jones RN
Special Events/Development
Park Nicollet Health Services

2013-02-03 22:09:06 UTC

I have never met a more dedicated group of people, from the management to the nurses in the field. I'm quite certain they would provide their services for free if they needed to. Their efforts are so valuable, it would be great to provide them with a new web site that would help them increase awareness for HOTC and let them focus their efforts and resources on the patients and families who need them.

2013-02-04 14:24:01 UTC

This caring and wonderful organization deserves a little help. They provide a very difficlut service in the communities througout the Metro area with compassion and integrity. Please help HOTC with their new website design.

2013-02-04 15:28:51 UTC

Hospice of the Twin Cities is an amazing organization. Dedicated to excellence in end of life care and stellar customer service, the staff here are hopeful that a new website will represent who we are and how we can help those in the community. Thank you not only for your consideration, but also dedicating your time and support to those whose mission is also to help others.

2013-02-04 16:19:55 UTC

My father received care from HOTC, and I will never forget the immediate support and care we had from nurses, aides, volunteers, chaplaincy. It made his passing peaceful and helped family members to be prepared.

2013-02-04 16:46:15 UTC

HOTC has grown to meet the needs of more and more patients, their families, their staff and volunteers, but their website has not. They are challenged to meet the needs of these multiple audiences to provide education, support and news them all in order to sustain their compassionate mission. I am delighted to see that HOTC has enrolled in this challenge and dearly hope they will be selected. Good luck HOTC!

2013-02-04 17:16:38 UTC
Dianne Bartels

Hospice of the Twin Cities is simply the best hospice in MInnesota. Staff provide superb end of life care for people with or without resources to pay.

A website would go along way in helping more people to know about the availablility of this excellent program.

Thank you for your consideration.

2013-02-04 18:20:39 UTC
Paul Cavallaro

Saying goodbye can either be traumatic or filled with warm memories for life of the passing of a loved one. From counseling needs to visits from a loyal canine friend Hospice of the Twin Cities makes this difference. Now they need help with the website and this organization asks for so little. Help them.

2013-02-04 21:18:21 UTC

of life care is so important, and we need to get the message out the to let then know the choices they have and the decisions they can make for and their ones.

2013-02-04 21:35:39 UTC

Anyone who has witnessed the gentle care provided to a loved one by Hospice of the Twin Cities understands just how wonderful these caregivers really are.

Like its parent organization, Hospice of the Twin Cities will provide services regardless of the patient's ability to pay.

Hospice of the Twin Cities is truly an asset to our communities and would be very deserving of help in creating a new web-site.

2013-02-04 22:09:05 UTC

Hospice does so much to support our community and they really go to such great lengths to help those in need. I've photographed for their Lights and Limos program for the past few years and I'm always so impressed by how caring everyone is who works for HOTC! Please help them, they deserve it!

2013-02-05 00:55:20 UTC

HOTC staff and volunteers touch the lives of thousands of people each year and they could reach even more hospice patients and families by updating their website.

2013-02-05 02:28:25 UTC

In 2005, my father's cancer came back with a vengeance. He was in severe pain and had no money to pay for the pain medications he needed as he was laid off from his job 2 years before. He had no insurance and was in danger of losing his home. He could not afford hospice and had not yet made the decision to apply for medical assistance as he was a very proud man. Hospice of the Twin Cities took my father as a patient pro bono and then helped him apply for the medical assistance. He died 5 weeks after he was seen in the emergency department and callously told by the doctor, wtihout family present that "you have cancer all over'. He was supported by the interdisciplinary team and he was comfortable. He died with his family and the hospice team present. I will never forget.

2013-02-05 02:32:28 UTC

My mother is currently on hospice. They are caring and responsive to her needs. Her dementia has progressed a she often does not know the present except for "Alice" who helps her have a bath. They gamely go along with whichever past adventure she is in. The also provided her the opportunity to see the holiday lights through their Lights and Limo's ride. She talked about that for a couple of weeks and every time she talked of this, she smiled. Thanks hospice.

2013-02-05 16:02:45 UTC

I'm a HOTC volunteer and would love to see a new website that positively reflects of all the good stuff happening inside. This is a fabulous organization (made up of many, many committed and caring people) well-deserving of the gift of a website makeover.

2013-02-05 16:25:59 UTC

I am proud to be an employee at Hospice of the Twin Cities. As an agency, we pour all of our heart and soul into caring for our patients. I feel so fortunate to work in an environment that fosters dignity, respect and support for individuals at the end of life. Clearly, our agency focuses more on people than technology--please help us represent ourselves with a more contemporary website!

2013-02-05 17:25:50 UTC

I have never worked with a more dedicated, caring group of staff and volunteers in my life. Our sole purpose is our 'soul' purpose. We focus on the care and comfort of our patients and their families, obviously not on flashy technology. It is my hope that our website could convey the caring, compassion and dedication of our staff and volunteers and that it would be as user-friendly as possible. Let the website be a reflection of who we truly are!

2013-02-05 19:30:09 UTC
Massage Volunteer

I have been volunteering with HOTC since last spring. What a great group of folks making the end of life care bearable for the family and the one dying. Please vote for them!!

2013-02-05 20:38:17 UTC

9 years ago my Mother, Lois, was a Hospice patient. During that time, she received the absolute, most caring treatment imaginable from this group of nurses, home health aids, chaplains & other employees. I felt she, as well as our immediate family of siblings & grandchildren, were a part of their family. They cared about how our family was doing during the entire 9 - 10 month process. They allowed Mom to die in comfort and with total dignity. At the time of my Mother's death, within 2 days my husband, Gary, passed away suddenly. Needless to say I was in shock, loosing the two most important people in my life at the same time. The Hospice team who had taken care of my Mom now took it upon themselves to check in on me periodically, calling weekly in the beginning to see how I was doing. These men and women have a special talent which cannot be put into words. Please choose Hospice of the Twin Cities for the Nerdery Overnight Website Challenge. Many, many people will benefit from the services these wonderful men & women deliver on a daily basis to those in the final stage of their life. They are truly deserving!!! Thank you.

2013-02-05 22:19:32 UTC

This organization pours its dollars in to placing nurses and aides in to the lives of hospice patients and their families. Expensive marketing has never been a budget item. A slick new web-site would be so wonderful!!

2013-02-05 23:34:59 UTC

It would be so awesome for Hospice of the Twin Cities to receive the help of the Nerdery for their website. As an employee who has worked for the organization for over 10 years, I know that we put so much of ourselves into our patients and their families ( this IS what we do!). The technology part falls on the wayside and how fun would it be to have a great website designed by professionals! If we don't win, it's not meant to be. Whoever wins this great opportunity will be a very lucky recipient. I do hope it's us!!!

2013-02-06 21:40:07 UTC

As an employee and beneficiary of HOTC Services I HIGHLY recommend an updated Website to give the Advantage to HOTC and their services provided, I would hope that people looking for Hospice care when looking on our website would be impressed not only for the updated material and presentation but then realize what a wonderful caring organization this truly is! thankyou for your consideration.

2013-02-06 22:14:58 UTC
Bella, Frankie and Mason

Our perspective on the impact we have on the lives of our patients and families is unique, as we are the therapy dogs for Hospice of the Twin Cities. Each person we visit has different needs and our job is to understand and accurately sense the best way to support the clients and their families. Some patients are open to an immediate nuzzle and others just want to look into our eyes and talk and share their thoughts. We create positive connections to the people we visit by bringing peace and comfort through our caring paws.

2013-02-08 04:37:41 UTC
Susan Smith

Six months after I started working for Hospice of the Twin Cities, my father became a patient on our program. My co-workers gave my father and I a wonderful gift – the ability for us to spend his final weeks as father and daughter, sharing memories and saying good bye. When my mother would have questions about his medication or symptoms he was having, I could say to her “Why don’t you call the nurse and ask about that?” For us, it was exactly what we needed. I didn’t want to be the professional teaching my family what I have taught so many other families, and my parents and brothers needed me to be a member of the family, not someone from the hospice team. I was able to see hospice from “the other side,” being cared for instead of caring for a family in need. Eleven years later, I continue to see my co-workers asking patients “What can I do for you today?” and striving to meet those requests. That is the heart of hospice care – tailoring services to fit the unique needs of a patient and the people who love them.
Hospice of the Twin Cities is a community based hospice, which means that we don’t have a hospital or clinic system to send families our way, and we don’t have the advertising budget that some other hospice programs do to spread the word about the services we offer. Our patients find us through referrals from medical professionals who are familiar with our program, or through word of mouth recommendations from others who have receives our services. In the age of the internet, a well-designed web site is a must for organizations that want to reach people in need and connect them with the information and resources that are available. Our current web site is outdated, and doesn’t tell the story of what a difference we can make in the lives of those we serve. Please help us spread the word about who we are, what we do and how to reach us, so that other families are able to receive the same personalized, professional, and compassionate care that my dad and I did.

2013-02-08 16:24:48 UTC

I have been an employee of HOTC for several years and never once has it felt like a "job." Each day has been a new and unique experience, meeting so many different people from all different walks of life, each one with their own special story. I consider it an honor and a blessing to be a part of their journey as they let complete strangers into their lives at such a private and intimate time. I am amazed at the team I have working with me as we all work together on providing the best end of life care to each of our patients and families, because they truly deserve it. I ask that you seriously consider HOTC to be chosen for the website challenge, our website is seriously outdated and not very functional, we desperately need some help! I would love to see it reflect who we are as an organization. Hospice staff are not physically present with patients 24 hours a day, although someone is always a phone call away, it would be great for patients and families to be able to use the website, something to read for encouragement or support and also for educational purposes. I think this is an awesome service you are providing and extremely generous....thank you!

2013-02-09 05:01:18 UTC

I think Hospice of the Twin Cities truly deserves the great opportunity that the Nerdery is offering. I am a daughter of one of the employees at HOTC and see day to day just how much effort and care my mother puts in every single day to help out families in very difficult situations. I have also had an even more personal experience with them when my grandpa became ill with a very aggressive cancer that took his life in less than eight months. To see my grandpa go through such pain and suffering was very hard to witness, but to have HOTC employess and nurses make his final months on this earth as comfortable and happy as possible is truly one of the kindest things I've ever seen. They gave my grandpa the opportunity to be comfortable in his own home, instead of a hospital, and to be surrounded by loved ones. One thing I have noticed being a daughter of an employee of HOTC is when I tell people what my mother does for a living half the time people don't even know what HOTC is. If the Nerdery were to improve HOTC's website I feel like it would help spread the word about Hospice and let more families know that there is not only another option but help for those that have a dying loved one.

Our Mission

HOTC mission is to enhance the quality of the lives of our patients and their families by providing respectful care based on maintaining dignity, alleviating physical, psychological, and spiritual suffering, advocating for fundamental rights, and affirming the sacred value of life. Hospice care: • Affirms life and regards dying as a normal process. • Neither hastens nor postpones death. • Provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms. • Integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care. • Offers a support system to help the family cope during the patient’s illness and in their own bereavement process.