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 care movement 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 of 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 the South Haven Area Hospice was created, and in March of 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. In 1986, 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, adults, and families 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.
In 2016 we rebranded under the name Caring Circle, which better represents the full range of programs offered for quality of life care, including our non-hospice programs. Caring Circle programs include: Transitions, HouseCalls, Palliative Care, Hospice at Home, Hanson Hospice Center, Bereavement Care, and Lory's Place.
Today, Caring Circle 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 their ability to pay for services. 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.
What is Lory's Place?
Hospice at Home founded Lory's Place to fill an ongoing need in southwestern Michigan, northwest Indiana and beyond. We are a grief healing and education center for children, adults, and families.
Why we're here?
Losing a loved one to death is not easy no matter what your age. Lory’s Place is here to provide life-affirming hope and guidance to children, adults, and families during their time of grieving.
Who may come?
Our grief support programs are provided for children ages 3 to 18 and their parents, guardians, grandparents, other close relatives, and friends. We also offer programs for young adults.
What is the cost?
All the programs and services at Lory’s Place are free. Many people in our community make this possible. Your help is always appreciated. Please donate or volunteer this year.