History of Commitment

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rev_saundersNewCourtland Senior Services was named after Courtland Saunders, a vibrant and aspiring young man who made the ultimate sacrifice when he was shot and killed on September 21, 1862 in a battle during the Civil War.

Years later, Courtland's father, The Reverend Dr. Ephraim Saunders, honored his son dedicating land at 39th and Market Streets in Philadelphia for the establishment of Presbyterian Hospital. At the dedication, Rev. Saunders said: "A few days before the battle of Antietam...he [Courtland] passed with me from his tent in the forest. We sat upon a log. In view of the perils of war...he recommended that in the case of his death...the property should all be donated to some prominent...charity."

In 1871 the original incorporators declared that the purpose of Presbyterian Hospital was 'to provide medical and surgical aid and nursing for the sick and disabled, either in the wards of the hospital or at their homes' granting care and nursing to the indigent of Philadelphia funded through donations from individuals and Presbyterian churches to fulfill its Christian mission.

The trustees of the Hospital renewed this commitment in 1952, voting against a move to the more affluent suburbs and choosing to remain in West Philadelphia to continue providing care to that community. In the 1980s, Don Snook, the president of Presbyterian Hospital at the time, often said that it was Presbyterian's dedication and commitment to its mission that separated it from other healthcare institutions in Philadelphia. In those years, and into the 1990s, Presbyterian Hospital enjoyed great prominence in the city as a care center and community hospital.

However, by the mid 1990’s, senior management at Presbyterian Hospital realized that in an era of increased costs and shrinking revenues, an independent hospital the size of Presbyterian might not survive unless it was strongly allied with a larger system. On July 1, 1995, Presbyterian Hospital became a part of the University of Pennsylvania Health System, thus marking the end of one era and the beginning of another.

HOMEWORDS-History002At the sale of the hospital in 1995, the trustees believed that they could fulfill their original mission by addressing the needs of those living in nursing homes throughout Philadelphia. At the time, nursing home care was significantly compromised because of poor financial conditions, which inevitably led to a breakdown in operational and clinical standards. Like Courtland Saunders, NewCourtland Senior Services rose to the challenge, taking up arms to fight for and deliver better care to those living in nursing homes.

Through years of dedication and hard work, NewCourtland Senior Services established a network of nursing homes that by 2011 served nearly 1,500 and employed more than 2,000 people who together created a culture nationally recognized for its clinical excellence, nurturing environment and innovative programs like Comfort & Joy™ and the Ladder of Opportunity.

While nursing homes remain a valuable part of the long-term care continuum, in anticipation of the dramatic increase in the nation's older adult population, NewCourtland Senior Services expanded into home and community-based services, developing a variety of affordable housing options for seniors complemented by programming to support them as they age.

Since 1871, the roots which spawned NewCourtland Senior Services have continually evolved and spread to where the need is the greatest. As it did at its inception, NewCourtland Senior Services recognizes that with changing times come changing demands and, as such, NewCourtland Senior Services transferred six of the seven nursing homes its Network to deepen its focus on Defining the Future of Senior Services.

As NewCourtland Senior Services further positions itself to anticipate and meet the changing needs of today's senior, we truly believe that Rev. Saunders would proudly embrace this shift in fulfillment of the original mission.