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At Stillwater Hospice,
We Lead with Love

Since 1888, Stillwater Hospice (formerly Visiting Nurse) has served families with a comprehensive suite of compassion services—from chronic disease management and hospice care, to palliative care and grief support.

And while our services have evolved and grown in the last 130 years, our driving purpose never has: to deliver the most compassionate care to those we serve. From our family to yours, in everything we do,
we Lead with Love.

Our Mission

Stillwater Hospice provides compassion, comfort and guidance through life’s journey.

Our Values


At Stillwater Hospice, compassion is at the heart of everything we do. Within every service and program we offer to individuals and their families, we will deliver with compassion.


Stillwater Hospice extends relief and encouragement to those affected by serious, life-limiting illness, providing comfort on their journey.


Stillwater Hospice provides holistic knowledge and comprehensive expertise to patients, families and the greater community during challenging and uncertain times.


At Stillwater Hospice, we open our arms to different backgrounds and perspectives to create a nurturing, empowering environment that reflects the communities we serve.


Stillwater Hospice strategically manages existing resources—and develops future resources—to grow in a way that positions the organization to thrive and achieve enduring success.

Our History

From our very beginning, Stillwater Hospice has been community-based and not-for-profit. Founded as the Ladies’ Relief Union in 1888, it distributed food to the poor—later expanding to form the Visiting Nurse Committee, providing food and comfort to the ill.

In 1900, now renamed the Visiting Nurse League, the program hired its first nurse, Josephine Shatzer, who worked largely alone for the next 23 years, at a rate of $10 per week.

Through her compassion and selfless determination, Josephine became a model for the loving care that Stillwater Hospice continues to provide today.

In our 130-plus years, we’ve experienced considerable growth, thanks to our incredible caregivers and leaders, and the generous support of the community.

In that time, we have expanded our services and the area we serve; we built our Hospice Home and the Peggy F. Murphy Community Grief Center; and we acquired Family LifeCare, an incredible partner in delivering compassionate care.

In 2022, we took the next step in our story, by changing our name from Visiting Nurse to Stillwater Hospice, to better reflect our full breadth of services.

Today, we proudly look back, grateful for Josephine Shatzer’s inspiring model of leadership—and look forward with hope and determination as we continue her mission of love.

A LEGACY OF LOVE since 1888


Visiting Nurse is renamed Stillwater Hospice, to better reflect the breadth of its services; the agency now serves 11 Indiana counties: Adams, Allen, Blackford, DeKalb, Grant, Huntington, Jay, Noble, Wabash, Wells and Whitley.


Visiting Nurse acquired Family LifeCare; the combined not-for-profit organization provides home health care, palliative medicine consultations, hospice and grief support services.


Visiting Nurse opened the Peggy F. Murphy Community Grief Center, the only dedicated facility in the region to serve grieving adults. The facility was named in honor of Peggy F. Murphy, whose family has been involved with Visiting Nurse since its very beginnings.


Celebrated 125 years of service; agency name was shortened to "Visiting Nurse".


The agency’s clinical team continued to grow, adding its first full-time physician and a team of nurse practitioners.


Hospice Home is expanded to add three additional patient rooms (for a total of 14), a larger family room and conference room, and team workspace.


The agency is renamed Visiting Nurse & Hospice Home.


Hospice Home as a free-standing facility became a reality when a new building was constructed on Homestead Road in Fort Wayne.


Visiting Nurse Service and Hospice refocused its mission to exclusively provide end-of-life care.


Hospice Home of Northeast Indiana opened on the eighth floor of the former Lutheran Hospital on Fairfield Avenue in Fort Wayne. Hospice Home was devoted to patients who were unable to remain in their homes and was the only in-patient facility dedicated solely to hospice care in the region, and one of only five in the entire state.


Demand for hospice services increased, leading to Visiting Nurses’ expansion into Adams, Wells and Huntington counties.


Visiting Nurse entered the home healthcare field. For a short time, Visiting Nurse’s hospice services were merged with those of Parkview and Lutheran Hospitals under the name "Visiting Nurse Service and Hospice." After a decade, it reverted to being a freestanding, community-based organization without formal ties to either hospital.


First "housekeeping aides," later known as "home health aides," began visiting patients.


Name is changed to "Visiting Nurse Service."

1930s and 1940s

Worked in conjunction with the Allen County and Red Cross Nursing Services. Disbanded in 1942, and reunited for a time as "Public Health Nursing Service of Fort Wayne and Allen County."


Renamed as "Visiting Nurse League;" the first nurse, Josephine Shatzer, is hired.


Expanded and renamed "Visiting Nurse Committee," providing food and comfort to the ill.


Founded as the "Ladies Relief Union" to distribute food to the poor.


The Stillwater Foundation supports the work of Stillwater Hospice by raising funding and community awareness in support of our services, programs and mission.

It is only with the generous support of our community, and individuals like you, that we can continue to help patients and their loved ones experience the best possible quality of life.

Stillwater Foundation is a not-for-profit, supporting organization and is governed by a Board of Directors. The Foundation raises funds through annual appeals, memorial donations, planned giving commitment and special events held throughout the year.