Emmanuel Hospice: Coming to wherever you need to be

By Emmanuel Hospice

In your final weeks and days and hours, what matters as much as how Emmanuel Hospice will care for you is where they’ll accommodate you.

Concurrent with that philosophy is the understanding that whenever feasible, it’s not required that a patient check into a hospital or medical facility. Instead, Emmanuel works with the client and family to provide as much comfort and latitude as possible when considering where they receive care. Hospice care is a service that can happen anywhere.

“The most common misconception I hear is that a family thinks they need to bring their loved one somewhere, that hospice is a place you go to,” says Racquel White, business development specialist at Emmanuel. “Certainly, there are hospice providers like that, but with Emmanuel, it can be in the hospital, a care facility or a person’s home. That’s the beauty of the adaptability of our program.”

It can even extend to a motel. That’s where Emmanuel treated a younger gentleman who was experiencing homelessness and living in a motel room in Grand Rapids several years ago.

“We collaborated with the medical team who was caring for him at a local hospital to ensure a smooth transition when he was discharged,” remembers Jenny Kellogg, Emmanuel’s support programs manager. “A nurse and I would go visit him in the motel where he was staying. It was a very unique situation, because his ‘where’ looked a lot different than most of our clients. But we were blessed to be able to treat him in the place he called home.”

Emmanuel has relied on that same creativity over the last year to pivot in ways both big and small, given the impact of the pandemic gripping the world.

“We’re seeing a trend now to keep loved ones at home when possible,” says White.

“It’s important for families to know we are able to safely accommodate their loved ones wherever they prefer to receive care.”

Emmanuel offers patients a wide array of services. This can include everything from music therapy to massage therapy to virtual reality therapy. The latter relies on special goggles that allow a patient to vicariously experience the sights and sounds of a sports park, a favorite mountain range, a gondola ride – virtually anything.

By focusing on where a person wants to be treated, says White, Emmanuel is often better able to treat the whole person – physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. It also allows the family to exert more control in seeking the right fit, which is important when you understand that there’s not just one hospice, but instead many options available to people in West Michigan.

In serving the client at the motel, Kellogg says it helped Emmanuel’s entire staff to be cognizant of how “everybody deserves a good end-of-life experience, and that we need to be reminded how we care for people wherever they live and whatever they call home.”White adds: “When it comes to where someone wants to receive our services, we’re here to walk alongside patients and their families.

Whenever possible, if they have a goal, then we make that our goal as well.”