Monday, December 28, 2015

Arbor Hospice & Palliative Care offers support for grieving parents free of cost

Arbor Hospice & Palliative Care invites grieving parents across southeast Michigan to receive assurance, comfort and guidance in the New Year through Arbor’s Loss of a Child Support Group. This free, eight-week grief support group runs Thursdays from Jan. 14 through March 3 at 7 p.m. at the nonprofit’s office, located at 2366 Oak Valley Drive in Ann Arbor. All are welcome, regardless of whether their loved one received hospice care from the nonprofit organization. 

“The experience of losing a child is especially shocking and overwhelming for parents, even if they have coped with grief in the past,” said Gloria D. Brooks, president of Arbor Hospice & Palliative Care. “Our team is sensitive to the unique experiences of grieving parents and is equipped to provide a caring and supportive environment in our support groups where they can begin to work through the loss.”

Support group participants can find comfort and solidarity in meeting with other grieving parents. In this compassionate setting, Arbor’s staff helps demystify the wide range of physical and emotional reactions associated with loss.

Many members of the community benefit from various grief support groups each year through Arbor Hospice & Palliative Care, and all are free of cost to enable as many people as possible to find the consolation and information they need. Donations to The Arbor Hospice Foundation are appreciated to support the nonprofit’s programming and services for patients and family members.

Support group participants must register by visiting or calling 734-794-5177. Space is limited.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Arbor Hospice & Palliative Care and Hospice of Michigan Affiliate to Become Largest Provider of Comprehensive Hospice and Palliative Care in the State

In a move designed to strengthen and expand the mission of nonprofit hospice providers in Michigan, Arbor Hospice & Palliative Care and Hospice of Michigan today announced they will form an affiliation effective Jan. 1, 2016.

Collectively, the affiliated organization will unite in caring for more than 2,200 patients on a daily basis across 58 Michigan counties, making it the largest provider of hospice and palliative care services in the state. Both organizations share common missions, visions and values and will be able to better serve patients and their families without regard to age, diagnosis or ability to pay.

The affiliation was announced to employees earlier today. Both organizations will continue to offer all their current programs and services and anticipate the new affiliation will enable them to commit more resources at the patient bedside.

The unified organization will be led by Robert Cahill, who has more than two decades of healthcare experience and has served as president and CEO of HOM since 2014. Gloria D. Brooks will serve as president of Arbor and the Arbor Hospice Foundation and vice president and chief strategy officer for HOM. The organizational management structure will be finalized in early January 2016.

“Arbor is excited to form an affiliation with HOM that aligns our missions and allows us to share best practices to better serve our patients and families,” said Gloria D. Brooks, president and CEO of Arbor Hospice. “Through this affiliation, Arbor and HOM will be able to preserve what’s unique about each organization while preserving the nonprofit hospice legacy to provide compassionate care to all.”

HOM president and CEO Robert Cahill noted: “This affiliation gives us greater opportunities to deliver the highest quality of care by sharing best practices and collaborating to better serve community needs.  We are both financially sound organizations and are making this affiliation from a position of strength. This new affiliation will allow both of us to enjoy the financial benefits of being part of a larger organization without sacrificing our names, brands and legacies.”  

Under the affiliation agreement, Arbor and HOM will continue as independent 501(c)(3)s and operate under their respective names.  Arbor will continue to serve patients throughout Washtenaw County and its current service area out of its Ann Arbor office, as HOM continues to serve patients throughout Michigan. 

The Arbor Hospice Foundation will be established as an independent foundation supporting Arbor’s programs and services. The Hospice of Michigan Foundation will continue to support HOM’s programs.

Patients and families currently served by Arbor and HOM will not experience any change with the affiliation. Clinical teams will remain intact and will continue to deliver the highest quality comfort care to palliative care and end-of-life patients and their families. 

For additional information about the affiliation, please visit: or 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Kelly Errer named Director of Business Development for Arbor Hospice & Palliative Care

Arbor Hospice has promoted Kelly Errer to director of business development.

In this role, Errer is a member of the nonprofit’s strategy team and focuses on developing brand awareness by managing marketing and public relations, as well as stakeholder and community education.  She joined Arbor Hospice as a provider relations representative in 2010 and served as department lead for a year prior to stepping into her current position.

Errer has more than 13 years of marketing and communications experience with organizations including Marx Layne & Company, the University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business and Hospice of Michigan. Errer is also a founding member of the Central Michigan University Integrative Public Relations Alumni Association.

 “Kelly has demonstrated great leadership skills, as well as a knack for building and maintaining relationships with the community, providers and stakeholders,” said Gloria D. Brooks, president and CEO, Arbor Hospice. “She is a valuable asset to Arbor Hospice and Arbor Palliative Care and will play an integral role with the strategy team in developing brand awareness.”

Errer received her Bachelor of Applied Arts in integrative public relations from Central Michigan University. She resides in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Arbor Hospice and Arbor Palliative Care welcome Cheryl Melville as Director of Human Resources

Arbor Hospice has welcomed Cheryl Melville, SPHR, to lead the nonprofit’s human resources department.

In this role, Melville offers strategic leadership while overseeing planning, implementation, evaluation and creation of policies and programs that enhance resources available to staff members throughout Arbor Hospice and Arbor Palliative Care. Her responsibilities include managing employee recruitment, compensation, benefits, training and development and employment law and regulatory compliance.

Melville has more than 25 years’ experience working in human resources and has spent the last 17 years as human resources manager for such organizations as the Center for Family Health, Advance Packaging Corporation and Plastigage Corporation.

“Cheryl brings the knowledge and skills necessary to not only manage but also enhance Arbor Hospice’s human resources policies and procedures,” said Gloria D. Brooks, president and CEO, Arbor Hospice. “She will be a valuable asset as Arbor Hospice and Arbor Palliative Care continue to expand our programs and services.”

Melville is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources by the Human Resources Certification Institute and a member of the Society for Human Resources Management, South Central Human Resources Management Association and the Nonprofit Network.

Melville received her bachelor’s degree from Spring Arbor University and her Master of Business Administration from Baker College. Melville resides in Jackson, Michigan.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Arbor Hospice Expands Services in Washtenaw and Wayne Counties

Arbor Hospice is introducing innovative residential care options for hospice patients and their families through partnerships with three highly-regarded health care organizations.

Beginning Summer 2015, Arbor Hospice is establishing a new partnership with Glacier Hills Retirement Community to create an in-patient hospice setting with contracted beds in Ann Arbor. The beds will better meet the needs of Washtenaw County hospitals and their patients.

In that same timeframe, Arbor Hospice will begin serving children’s unique hospice needs through a contracted pediatric hospice bed at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor.

In addition, Henry Ford Village is reserving dedicated studio apartments for community members seeking a residential hospice setting with Arbor Hospice providing quality, compassionate hospice care. This is Arbor Hospice’s first residential partnership in Wayne County.

The Residence of Arbor Hospice is continuing to provide residential inpatient hospice service to patients and their families at our current location in Ann Arbor. Arbor Hospice’s strategic plan also includes further expansion of residential care options in Washtenaw County.

“Arbor Hospice is pleased to offer these innovative in-patient services to those who need our care in the community,” said Gloria D. Brooks, president and CEO of Arbor Hospice. “Our strategic plan for the future will allow us to enhance the continuum of care we currently offer in end-of-life services as the needs of our families and community partners change in the new healthcare environment.”

“For more than 30 years, the strength in Arbor Hospice’s services has always been our home-based hospice services, wherever patients call ‘home,’” added Brooks. “Our organization is committed to maintaining a strong presence in the community long into the future.”

Arbor now cares for more than 350 patients daily through our palliative care and hospice services.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Role of a Massage Therapist in End of Life Care

The end of life can be an extremely scary and stressful time. Massage therapy is one of the ways Arbor Hospice provides care for the whole person, relieving physical, emotional and spiritual distress, and offering comfort. The role of the massage therapist includes:

  • Be a healing presence. Massage therapists bring forth something that comes from deep within--their ability to be present. Rather than revert to prescribed techniques, therapists must trust the simplicity of human compassion and their capacity to offer it to another. A therapist’s best resources when serving the dying person doesn't come from the techniques they’ve studied but from within their own hearts. They become the space-holder, allowing the dying person his/her own process and experience, and sometimes serve as an anchor for family members and other caregivers.
  • Enhance the quality of life. Doing what is called for to ease any form of discomfort is the best approach to take. One minute a therapist might be offering a gentle foot massage or holding a hand and the next, moisten dry lips or help turn someone on their side to make breathing easier. Mother Teresa once said, "Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work." Hospice service is about doing the humble work each moment as it unfolds.

Moving a part of the body for positional change and to ease pressure is a good technique to implement. Change the adjustment of the bed or add supportive pillows under the arms or legs. Mindfully adjust the pillows under the head. Lifting a part of the body and holding it up for a moment relieves pressure.

Therapists must be willing to let go of their idea of what a “regular” session looks like. A session with a dying person may include gentle massage, focused touch or no touch at all. The length of a session varies according to what is called for at the time. The key is sound clinical judgment but also letting the rules go to truly serve the person. Confidence in skills is what allows the therapist to listen to inner guidance and respond accordingly. The patient may simply need someone to compassionately hold a hand or the feet while focusing attention on the inner wholeness of the person. Sometimes massage therapists have to stop doing and simply BE.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Anticipatory Grief

It is common for loved ones to begin feeling the effects of loss and grief before a death actually occurs. These are normal reactions to current and future losses. Losses can include those associated with caring for someone with an illness, changes in relationships, and the anticipated loss of a loved one. This anticipatory grief may actually help you prepare for the losses and decrease the intensity of grief after the death occurs.

Causes of Anticipatory Grief
Some of the causes of anticipatory grief are related to fears and actual or possible losses, such as:
  • Loss of social life
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of usual eating, sleep, work, and recreational habits
  • Loss of independence
  • Loss of control, such as, being able to care for yourself or a loved one
  • Fears related to life without your loved one
  • Fear of losing present family structure, such as head of household, the family matriarch, or frequency of visits from family members
  • Fear of starting over 
  • Fear of the unknown
Signs and Symptoms of Anticipatory Grief
It is normal to experience recurring or combinations of signs and symptoms of anticipatory grief. Some of the signs and symptoms of anticipatory grief may include the following:
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Tearfulness 
  • Constant changes in emotions 
  • Anger 
  • Depression 
  • Feelings of emotional numbness 
  • Anxiety or feelings of fear 
  • Changes in sleeping and eating habits 
  • Poor concentration 
  • Forgetfulness or poor memory 
  • Loneliness 
  • Denial 
  • Acceptance 
  • Fatigue
What You Can Do
There are things you can do which may be helpful for working through the anticipatory grief process. Some suggestions may include:
  • Go for short walks when possible
  • Write in a journal
  • Plan for the future
  • Seek spiritual assistance if needed
  • Talk to someone such as friends, family, or clergy. 
  • Make changes only as needed but put off major decisions when possible
  • Do the things you want to do now. Forget the chores that you can do later. 
  • Spend time with your loved one, friends, support group and family
  • Seek help from your family, friends, and/or a hospice volunteer to arrange some time to spend doing things you enjoy
  • Call your Arbor Hospice team if anticipatory grief feels overwhelming or you want to talk about your feelings
  • Attend a caregiver support group
Sometimes it may feel that the grief process will not end as you experience loss. Please feel free to call Arbor Hospice's grief support services with any questions or concerns. You are not alone.