By HOSPICE OF MICHIGAN/ALPENA
Fifteen years ago, Hospice of Michigan team members began noticing a "care gap."
The physicians, nurses and social workers so adept at providing end-of-life care for those with a diagnosis of six months or less to live found an increasing number of patients and families who needed help but didn't meet this criteria.
Struggling with advanced cancer, Parkinson's, ALS and other serious illnesses, these patients were falling through the proverbial cracks of the health care system. Families who had stepped in to provide the extra care needed found themselves exhausted and struggling.
So was born the idea for At Home Support, an advanced illness management program that offers comfort care to seriously ill patients who still may be years away from hospice care. The program provides an interdisciplinary team who handle the medical, social and spiritual needs of patients and their caregivers and round-the-clock access to nurses telephonically.
At Home Support is just one example that makes it easy to understand why research and education is so important to end-of-life care. That's why, with a generous $3 million gift from Detroit-area philanthropist and civic leader Maggie Allesee, the Maggie Allesee Center for Quality of Life was formed.
Today, the Center has evolved to become the Hospice of Michigan Institute, the only research and innovation center in Michigan focused on end-of-life care. It has become the premier hub for research, education and community outreach initiatives aimed at improving care for people who are seriously ill and providing support for their caregivers.
"The Hospice of Michigan Institute is a place where end-of-life experts can exchange ideas on enhancing the care of those with serious illness and where health care providers can learn new ways to improve the care they provide their patients in the last phase of life," Dr. Michael Paletta, executive director of the Institute, said. "The education and programs the Institute provides are grounded in its research which changes every day.
"The research shows we can live better with serious illness and through training and education of its staff, medical professionals and the community at large, the Institute is improving quality-of-life at the end-of-life."
The Institute is focused on:
In the past few years alone, research and education developed by the Institute has helped HOM introduce several new programs, including:
To learn more about the Hospice of Michigan Institute or for more information on educational programs offered to medical professionals and the community, call 888.247.5701 or visit www.hom.org.