60 Years of Barton Health: Barton begins supporting patients at home in 1980s

Barton Staff

60 years ago, the community’s dream of a local, Tahoe-based hospital became reality. Barton Health has assembled a collection of articles to commemorate 60 years of quality and compassionate health care for our community and its visitors. Beginning with the 1950s, an article outlining the events of each decade will be published monthly, culminating with the 2020s on Barton’s official 60th anniversary in November. Follow along this historical journey each month and learn more at

Throughout the 1980s, Barton’s growth focused on added medical services, continued community outreach for health initiatives such as flu immunization clinics and smoking cessation, and financial planning to ensure the sustainability of a rural hospital. Physicians in many specialities joined the staff, and patient services such as gastroenterology, ambulatory surgery, and education were introduced.

Each additional service line brought a welcome advancement to meet the needs of the growing population, with a notable addition being Barton Home Health Agency.

Barton Home Health Agency was created in 1987 to provide a smooth transition for patients from hospital to rehabilitation to home.

In the 1980s, community education was as critical as clinical education. Vicki McKenna, education coordinator, was part of many community outreach presentations.

In the same year, the hospital Auxiliary funded the first companion phone line for high-risk patients living at home. Overseen by the Home Health staff, the program grew over the years to accommodate demand.

Today, Barton Home Health & Hospice continues to provide skilled services from registered nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologist, aides, as well as social work to our community’s homebound population. Hospice provides end-of-life care to allow those with terminal diagnoses a dignified death at home with their symptoms well-managed by a diverse team of experienced staff.

Additionally, the hospice team, in coordination with local congregations, offers spiritual and bereavement support before and after the patient passes away to families who continue to

cope with the loss of their loved ones. Camp Sunrise, a children’s bereavement camp, is hosted by Barton Hospice each August to support the unique needs of grieving teens and children.

Paired with challenges of winter weather, tourism travel, and mountain passes, home health and hospice has remained a critical component of medical care for our population since the 1980s.

It is an honor and privilege to continue to care for our medically-vulnerable and elderly populations from the comfort of their homes.

Lauren Zeffaro, FNP, is the Director of Barton Home Health & Hospice. Barton Home Health provides high-quality, cost-effective, compassionate care using the latest technology. Learn more at

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