Advance Directives-We Can Help

Advance directives are a way of communicating who you want to make health care decisions for you in the event you are unable to make them yourself.  This is a legal document in Michigan.  Making Choices Michigan is a great resource for a simple advance directive form.  Check out their website at and click […]

My Mom was a Hospice Patient

The Diagnosis When my mother was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, I became aware for the first time of how she would most likely die. Over the next ten years or so, I watched her slowly leave us. Her physical abilities declined and her brain changed. Although it was difficult and sad to witness, the […]

Reflections on Death with Dignity

When I started working in hospice care, the phrase ‘death with dignity’ meant maintaining respect for the individual who was dying as that person became more and more vulnerable. For example, dignity meant maintaining a person’s privacy by keeping body parts covered; keeping by a person clean and groomed; talking to instead of around him […]

Being a Healing Listener

Healing Listening ‘Healing listening’, a term used by both James Miller and Paul Feider in their writing and their work with individuals who are grieving, is a priceless gift you can give someone who has experienced a loss.  Regardless of the type of loss, the person experiencing it feels pain, and that pain must be […]

Life, Death, Hospice & Holidays

The Last Christmas I am reflecting this Christmas Eve on the people my hospice serves.  Most of our patients are celebrating the last Christmas they will ever have.  Families are poignantly aware that at this time next year, their loved one will not be with them.  I think that for some, this thought must be […]

Wings of Hope Hospice Staff

What is Palliative Care?

In presentations, I always describe ‘palliative care’ as a ‘fifty-dollar word for comfort care’’.  In truth, it means so much more, and I’m not sure I can do it justice.  A friend and colleague believes palliative care is the answer to all the woes of our health care system.  I agree with her.  It’s actually […]

Futile Care and Advance Directives

Futile Health Care The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines ‘futile’ as ‘having no result or effect; pointless or useless’.  On a rainy day in November, after a week of early winter snow that has since melted, it is futile for me to mop my kitchen floor when three dogs continuously insist on going outdoors to play in […]

Does Grief Have a Purpose?

Receiving the bad news Years ago, on September 5th, I got the call just before 10 p.m.  My friend and skydiving instructor Dennis had been killed in an ultralight accident that afternoon.  It was Labor Day and my brother was calling with the news. My initial reaction was physical.  I doubled over quickly, as though […]