Easing that end-of-life concern led to the creation of the first modern hospice in the U.S. in 1974, with the idea spreading to southwest Michigan in just a few years.
The concept behind hospice care — that people in the end stages of life deserve to live comfortably and in dignity — took root in Kalamazoo in 1981 with the launch of Hospice of Greater Kalamazoo. Now called Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan, the nonprofit organization is celebrating 30 years of serving the community, of helping the dying live out the remainder of their lives peacefully and guiding family members as they cope with the loss of a loved one.
The organization has come a long way in just 30 years.
Initially funded as a pilot program with a $100,000 grant from the Kalamazoo Foundation (now Kalamazoo Community Foundation) with other assorted grants and donations, its first headquarters was donated office space inside St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. From helping 72 families in its first year, Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan has worked with “thousands and thousands” of clients and families over the agency’s history, according to Kelly McCormick, chief operating officer for Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2011/06/ce_care_of_southwest_michigan.html