Delivering End-of-Life Care at Home: Hospice of Michigan Spotlights Patient Safety During National Safe at Home Week

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (August 22, 2019) – “Home is where the heart is” – a saying as old as time – is an adage that also reflects the compassionate palliative and end-of-life care Hospice of Michigan delivers to patients annually wherever they call “home.” Serving more than 50 percent of its 5,100 annual patients in their own homes throughout the lower peninsula, the state’s original and largest hospice provider values the health benefits being in comfortable, familiar and loving surroundings has on a patient’s quality of life.

Through an interdisciplinary care team, Hospice of Michigan delivers wide ranging medical care and support to patients through specially trained doctors and nurses, hospice aides, social workers, Spiritual Care Advisors and volunteers, each one dedicated to a customized care plan that prioritizes patient safety.

In recognition of National Safe at Home Week (August 26-30), dedicated to raising awareness about the potential dangers to people in their homes, Hospice of Michigan emphasizes important practices in-home hospice support provides to help caregivers ensure their loved ones receive the safest care possible.

  • The first step is conducting a household survey to identify potential safety concerns, including fall risks. Hospice of Michigan’s clinical team – often aided by partner physical or occupational therapists – assesses patients’ homes and recommends ways to adapt the environment to eliminate trip hazards, remove barriers and install necessary safety equipment, such as ambulatory and transfer devices, shower grab bars, bedrails and alarms.
  • Hospice aides and other members of the clinical team not only help provide care to assist the patient and caregivers, but also train caregivers on the best methods for providing physical assistance throughout the day without injury – to their loved ones or themselves. This includes how to properly lift patients, safely transferring them from one location to another, safe showering techniques, repositioning in bed and more.
  • Doctors provide clear dosing and scheduling instructions for medications and the clinical team helps caregivers set up processes to store, organize and log medications to ensure safe administration to home-based patients.
  • Social workers work diligently to help secure any specific, additional resources and support patients need to stay safely in their homes and to enhance quality and comfort at end-of-life.

In addition to physical safety, Hospice of Michigan also suggests ways to enhance the home environment to create a more convenient and stress-free atmosphere for patients and caregivers:

  • Creating the right place – HOM suggests ways patients and caregivers can modify their existing living and sleeping spaces within the home so the center of care is more accessible and easier for the caregiver and more comfortable for patients.
  • Stimulating physical and mental activity – One of the biggest frustrations that comes with being ill is the loss of control. Many patients, however, can remain mentally alert and active through limited activity with their caregivers such as playing cards or board games, being read to and talking about family plans and activities.
  • Working through frustrations – At-home caregivers realize that patients can often feel like they are a burden to their loved ones. HOM’s interdisciplinary team trains them to affirm and not deny a patient’s anger, as well as emphasize that caregiving is a privilege for them.

“Caregiving is complex. It illuminates our intrinsic strengths and exposes our limitations,” said Michael Paletta, MD and chief medical director for Hospice of Michigan. “Our commitment to modeling a better way of caring inspires our research and education initiatives that result in improved care for all.”

For more information about Hospice of Michigan, including details of how to enroll in at-home hospice services, please visit

About Hospice of Michigan

A nationally recognized leader in end-of-life care, Hospice of Michigan (HOM) is the original – and largest – hospice in the state. A founding member of the NorthStar Care Community, the not-for-profit delivers the highest quality of care, raising more than $5 million each year to cover costs for the uninsured and underinsured. HOM offers a broad range of services to enhance the quality of life at the end of life. HOM also provides grief support and counseling, as well as caregiver education and support. A member of the NorthStar Care Community, HOM also provides palliative care through NorthStar Palliative Care, pediatric hospice care and compassionate support services through Jo Elyn Nyman Anchors Programs for Children, and education programs for physicians and health care professionals through the NorthStar Institute. The NorthStar Care Community also includes Arbor Hospice. In total, NorthStar Care Community members serve nearly 5,100 patients annually across Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. For more information, call 888.247.5701 or visit