About Hospice at Home
Many people hear the word "hospice" and associate it with giving up hope. Yet, giving up hope is not what Hospice at Home is about. Instead, it is one of the most hope-filled organizations in Southwest Michigan.
If you, or someone you care for, have a life-limiting, debilitating disease, serious illness or injury, Hospice at Home is here to help you make your every living and loving moments count. It is our goal is to give you, your loved one or your patient, the best quality of life possible through a range of holistic programs:
- Transitions Service to help you and your family cope as your serious illness or disease progresses.
- Palliative care to help you manage symptoms of a life-limiting illness and relieve the pain.
- Hospice care provides comfort, dignity and compassion when you, or someone you care for, is terminally ill. It is a holistic, non-curative approach to care dedicated to enhancing your life during your remaining days. Your hospice team will work with your attending physician and the Hospice at Home medical director to provide physical symptom and pain management. The team will also meet your emotional, social and spiritual care needs as well as your family's needs. This care is available to you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year round from offices in Buchanan, St. Joseph and South Haven, Michigan. And because of the generosity of donors, you will never be denied hospice care for financial reasons or an inability to pay.
- Bereavement support through monthly mailings, special programs and Lory's Place, children and adults receive the help they need along their grief journeys.
The Mission of Hospice at Home
Serve our patients, families and communities with dedication and compassion.
Deliver the best end-of-life care to help people experience peaceful, pain-free and sacred deaths within the contexts of their own lives.
Guide our youth, adults and families through the grief process with timely and consistent availability.
Hospice care is not a new concept. Even in ancient times people cared for others on their life journeys. In medieval times, pilgrims traveling to and from the Holy Land stopped at places called hospices for food and lodging. Over time, hospices became known as way stations for sick and dying travelers who could go no further.
Today, the word hospice is rooted in its ancient beginnings. Caring in the midst of a frightening and often overwhelming time of life is still the spirit behind hospice care. The current model of hospice serves as an alternative to the "technology-oriented" medical treatment that patients with life-limiting illnesses, diseases or injuries often receive.
The Hospice at Home team made it possible for my family and me to take my husband for a ride to the beach and Riverview Park. I know that it made my husband very happy.
The hospice care movement, however, is fairly new in the United States. In 1974, our nation's first hospice opened in New Haven, Connecticut. As word spread about the benefits of hospice care, more and more hospice facilities and organizations sprang up all over the country.
In 1981, a group of individuals in Berrien County organized to determine whether there was a need for hospice care in Southwest Michigan. In June 1981, the group officially became board incorporated by the State of Michigan and Hospice at Home was launched. The first volunteer training was conducted in 1982 and the first patients were admitted into the program in July that year.
In 1984, Betty Matthews, an oncology nurse for South Haven Community Hospital, saw how patients, their caregivers and families struggled as they tried to cope after curative treatments ended. Funded by the hospital, Betty researched hospice programs in Michigan. In February 1985, South Haven Area Hospice was created and in March that year, the first patient was admitted to the program.
Also in 1985, Hospice at Home became one of the first hospice organizations to satisfy the State of Michigan's stringent licensing laws. The next year, Hospice at Home was certified to receive Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements.
Because they shared the same vision for hospice care, in 1996, Hospice at Home and South Haven Area Hospice entered into a partnership agreement under the auspices of Hospice Cares.
In 2004, Hospice at Home opened Lory's Place, its community bereavement center. Here children and adults in Southwest Michigan and Northern Indiana can receive peer-to-peer group support as they make their grief journeys. Lory's Place also offers an anticipated grief program for those anticipating the death of a family member or friend due to a life-limiting disease, illness or injury.
Today, Hospice at Home continues its story by providing care to hundreds of patients and families. Through the generosity of donors, that care is given to everyone regardless of his or her ability to pay for services. Just as in days long gone by, we still reach out to people in time of great need and offer them a hand to guide them on their life journeys. While we cannot change the end of their individual stories, we can make every living moment count. That makes for some heart-warming times together.