Impacting the Lives of Those We ServeWhen we first opened, we saw a need not only for compassionate care in our community but also for someone to be a leading voice in the fields of hospice and palliative care. The work we do training and educating our staff, community, and other providers positively affects the field at large, but the most profound impact is happening each day in the lives of those we serve.
The Importance of Education and AdvocacyEducation, training, and patient advocacy are important in every field of medicine, but they play a slightly different role in hospice and palliative care. As relatively new fields (the ideas of palliative care and specialized end-of-life care were developed in the UK in the 1960s and weren't introduced in the United States until 1974), they are often misunderstood. The purpose, benefits, and availability of these types of care are not necessarily common knowledge. At Faith Hospice, we are on a mission to change that. Because we see our work's profound impact on patients and their loved ones each day, we hope to help others understand that hospice and palliative care are more than managing pain, suppressing symptoms, and making people comfortable. It’s important for people to realize that, even more so, it’s about giving a patient a higher quality of life and a voice in how they want to spend their end-of-life journey. That could mean spending more time with loved ones, enjoying their favorite activities, making amends, or finding peace. The more people understand this critical concept, the more individuals and families hospice and palliative care will help.
Furthering Our Mission“There aren’t many hospices, nationally even, that do what we do,” says Dr. Fitzgibbon, Medical Director at Faith Hospice. For example, Trillium Institute, a partner of Faith Hospice, helps train medical professionals in the community in hospice and palliative care. The Institute is entering its 12th year as partners and preceptors in St. Mary’s (MHSM) Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship. So far, 29 physicians have completed the fellowship (33 by the end of 2023) and are now serving abroad and across the country. Trillium Institute also acts as the training ground for fellowships in Geriatrics at MHSM and Geriatric Psychiatry at Pine Rest.
“If Faith Hospice benefits from having a better training facility, everybody in the Greater Grand Rapids area, if not the whole state, will benefit from it. So, it’s huge for us not just internally but for the entire specialty regionally and by extension, our patients and their loved ones”
-Dr. Patrick Fitzgibbon, Medical Director