Thursday, May 23, 2024

Women in Business: Paula Alderson

Paula Alderson, HEALTH

Hospice by the Sea, Inc.

President and CEO

Established 1978

1531 W. Palmetto Park Road, Boca Raton, 561/395-5031, www.hbts.org

Paula Alderson first came to Hospice by the Sea as a consultant planning to stay for only five months.

Instead she found herself taking the reins as president and chief executive officer, staying for five years and counting.

“This was meant to be,” she says. “I stopped myself one day and said, ‘This is where I belong.'”

Hospice by the Sea, which provides care for patients with end-of-life illnesses and helps the families who care for them, now serves more than 600 patients daily – significant growth since Alderson arrived.

The organization, with more than 500 staffers and 400 volunteers, operates an impressive 30-bed inpatient facility at its Boca Raton location and an 18-bed center at Memorial Regional Hospital South in Hollywood. The vast majority of its patients, however, are in their homes or in skilled nursing facilities.

“What we do here is about life, not about death,” Alderson says. “It’s about helping people live their life to the fullest in comfort and with dignity; and it’s about working with families through the transition.”

Alderson, a registered nurse who went on to teach for 23 years at several universities, worked in the corporate world as an executive with Aetna, at one point serving as president of its New York and New Jersey HMO.

“My professional life has come full circle,” she says.

Using creativity and leadership skills honed over the years, she has overseen several innovations, including palliative care and an award-winning Complementary Therapies program for staff and patients that includes massage, Reiki, Healing Touch, and music therapies. Critical to her success, she says, is the passion, pride and sense of purpose of the staff, which has embraced four cornerstones – integrity, excellence, teamwork and accountability.

“I am very proud of the men and women who work and volunteer here, they are the heart and soul of Hospice by the Sea,” she says. “It is indeed a privilege to lead this organization.”

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