When faced with adversity, would you give up or grow? Jim Palazzo took his past experiences, both positive and negative, and used them as motivation to provide others with the care that they deserve. Although he has many inspirations for his work, there are two specific moments in his life that have worked as a catalyst for the ancillary companies that he has created and nurtured today. These experiences, along with the tremendous support and hard work from his family, encouraged Jim to be who he is today. As we look back at these moments, they provide valuable insight into the past, present, and future that is Transitions.
Growing up in a big Italian family, Jim was able to realize the value in family support. When his father, Richard “Dick” Palazzo, became terminally ill with Advanced Pulmonary Fibrosis, it was time for the family to decide on what hospice company would be best to take care of him. After making this decision, they were all hopeful that the company could meet their father’s needs and make sure that he was comfortable in his end of life journey. It wasn’t long until Jim and his family realized that their expectations for hospice would not be met. When it came time to go to sleep at night, Dick would have anxiety attacks in fear of going to sleep and not waking up. MaryAnn, Dick’s wife, would call the hospice agency and ask for help in these times of need. The company would triage the call, and tell MaryAnn what medications to give to help her husband with his anxiety. She was then told to call back after an hour to let the company know how Dick was doing. The family needed physical help and support for their father and husband at this time, and when they weren’t receiving this they decided to revoke from hospice. Dick was taken to the hospital where he passed away, despite his and his families wishes to transition comfortably at home. This was the first experience that hospice put a bad taste in Jim’s mouth.
While this first experience was personal, Jim later encountered hospice on the business level. With a degree in Health Administration from Purdue University, 19 years with the same healthcare firm (14 of those years as the Vice President of 38 healthcare facilities), an opportunity aroused for Jim and his wife Marilyn to own their own facility. Marilyn, also having nine and a half years of experience with the same company, provided even more experience to help East Bank Center become the foundation for the future Comprehensive Care Model. East Bank Center, located in Rockford, was where the business interaction with hospice occurred. A patient was on hospice services at his facility and every time there was a problem, the company would triage the call or not respond at all. At one point, a representative with the hospice agency said that there were too many false alarms and that the “patient better be dying this time.” Between his personal and professional experiences with these agencies, Jim lost his faith in hospice care.
If something is broken, then fix it. Marilyn encouraged Jim to take these negative situations and turn them into positive inspiration. Instead of giving up hope on hospice, Jim and Marilyn decided that they would start their own company to provide families and patients with the care that they deserve. They made a commitment to hospice, made a promise to treat each patient uniquely, and committed to always do the right thing. These three commandments set the foundation for the ancillary companies to become what they are today, with the intention to attend to patient’s needs immediately.
East Bank Center, celebrating its 13th year in 2017, is a post acute rehabilitation center geared towards orthopedic, neurologic and cardiac patients. It has been a Medicare 5 Star Facility for five consecutive years. Advance Therapy Solutions, Advanced Medical Equipment and Supplies, Transitions Home Medical Group and Palliative Care, Transitions Home Health Plus and Transitions Hospice all followed in East Bank Center’s footsteps. With the help of each of these companies, the Palazzo family can support their mission in making sure to keep all of their patients as comfortable as possible in their home, wherever that may be – Skilled Nursing Facilities, Assisted Living Facilities, Independent Living, etc. Their family of six – Jim, Marilyn, Mary Grace, Abby, Kai, and Chuck (their 148 pound, St. Bernard pet volunteer) – all put their heart into helping Jim’s healthcare mission flourish. The Palazzo family is fully dedicated to serving their patients, supporting their staff, and wishing to grow to help more communities.
Transitions Hospice is now servicing 26 counties in Illinois, and has recently branched out to Indiana. Jim chose to expand to help patients in Indiana next, as the state has a special place in his heart because of his alma mater, Purdue University. He interviews each employee to make sure that they share the same passion in taking care of patients, and continues to encourage them to grow along with him and his family. By personally interviewing and assisting in the training process directly, his staff is able to take his vision and make it a reality. 226 staff members, along with the help of wonderful volunteers, are fully trusted and appreciated by the Palazzo family. The continuous support that they provide to each employee encourages all to always do the right thing, and provide the services that families should expect. Transitions has Extended Care Teams, flexibility, attentiveness and responsiveness for every patient, and will continue to spread the Palazzo healthcare mission. Jim was faced with adversity, and chose to learn and grow from it.
On behalf of the Transitions team, we wish Jim a very happy birthday and a year full of prosperity. We truly appreciate you giving us this opportunity to work for such an incredible company, and for setting an example of what healthcare should be. We enjoy helping you fulfil your mission to provide the absolute best care for each and every patient. God bless!
-Elena Sullivan, Regional Hospice and Palliative Care Coordinator