Emmanuel Hospice Expands into New Offices

Bolstered by steady growth since its founding in 2012, Emmanuel Hospice will soon complete a move into a new and expanded office space in Grand Rapids at 401 Hall St. SW.

The new office space is 5,400 square feet, which is an increase of 3,500 square feet from Emmanuel’s current office space at St. Ann’s Home, located at 2161 Leonard St. NW. The new office space, which is located just south of downtown Grand Rapids, includes a dedicated grief support room, collaborative workspaces, a large conference room, space for interdisciplinary team meetings and 13 private offices.

The new space also offers convenient access to US 131 and I-196, as well as free and abundant parking.

The move comes two years after the faith-based nonprofit provider of hospice care expanded its former headquarters at St. Ann’s to accommodate new team members. Since then, Emmanuel’s team has continued to grow, adding 45 employees and expanding programs, such as its complementary therapy offerings.

“The growth of our organization has just been incredible, and it would not have been possible if it weren’t for the support of St. Ann’s and the Carmelite Sisters along the way,” said Sara Lowe, executive director of Emmanuel Hospice. “This expansion will allow our staff the space and resources they need to continue to provide quality and compassionate care to our patients.

“As we continue to refine our services in our new space, it’s important to us to honor St. Ann’s and the Carmelite Sisters for being the supportive roots from which we could flourish. Our partnership will remain strong with St. Ann’s and our other partners, Clark, Porter Hills and Sunset.”

Since opening its doors, Emmanuel Hospice has grown to care for more than 95 families a day in the four-county area. Last year, the organization cared for more than 455 patients and an estimated 1,365 caregivers who supported them on their end-of-life journeys.

Additionally, Emmanuel Hospice has:

  • Provided grief counseling and support services to 3,025 family members and friends
  • Served 915 community members through grief support programs
  • Provided education on end-of-life issues to 3,165 area residents
  • Benefited from more than 40 volunteers who donated more than 9,100 hours of time to provide comfort, care and support to patients and families

Emmanuel Hospice recently hired a massage therapist to support the organization’s growing portfolio of complementary therapy offerings, which includes music therapy, massage therapy, companionship and journaling sessions, as well as acupuncture and acupressure. Emmanuel also offers a pet visitors program and essential oils.

Emmanuel Hospice Awarded Photojournalism Grant Through Funraise

Emmanuel Hospice has been awarded a photojournalism grant valued at $35,000 by digital fundraising platform Funraise to capture patient stories and the unparalleled compassion of employees.

Emmanuel Hospice applied and received the grant near the end of 2018, chosen from several hundred applications due to its extraordinary care and devotion to their patients and outlook on the end-of-life journey.

Emmanuel’s application read in part: “Caring for the dying is not a glamorous job. In fact, it can be messy, emotionally draining, and exhausting. But it can also be joyful. It can be funny. And it can certainly be rewarding. That’s what we would love to have captured through professional images. To share the full experience of the dying with our community, and beyond. To show people that this work, while it is difficult, is also deeply profound.”

The grant will engage California photographer and videographer Alexander Pavone for one week, including his travel and lodging. Pavone will spend the week at Emmanuel Hospice in the late summer, documenting patient stories and employees’ dedication to upholding patient dignity in end-of-life care to be used for Emmanuel’s website, social media and promotional materials.

“We are really looking forward to seeing Alex’s work and how he sees our work through the lens,” said Katie Joseph, director of development at Emmanuel Hospice. “Our goal is to offer a glimpse into the reality of dying, which we believe is foundational in helping our society embrace death and live well.”

As noted in its mission statement, Emmanuel Hospice strives to provide exemplary spiritual and physical care and creating a peaceful experience for the dying. Pavone’s videos will not only provide those researching end-of-life care for their loved ones’ peace of mind, but also demonstrate the deep faith, passion and dedication at the root of all care services at Emmanuel.

Known for working with nonprofits, Funraise chose to allot a portion of its own marketing budget into several grants for capacity building, staff training and more.

Gene’s Story

My Dad, Gene, was what you’d call a “people person.” He loved to reminisce about the old days, share a laugh with a friend, or discuss the meaning behind his favorite hymns. And boy, did he get his fill of good conversation in his last few months with us.

In the spring of 2017, after a string of hospital visits, we knew we needed more help to meet Dad’s needs. At 95 years old, his health was declining, and he was tired. We were all tired, and a little overwhelmed. So we made the call to Emmanuel Hospice.

I don’t think any of us knew what to expect when we made that call, or the relationships we would build. Emmanuel Hospice ended up caring for my Dad for 14 months, with nursing visits, massage therapy, spiritual care, music therapy, and more. We could all see how much he meant to them, not just as a patient, but as a person. We knew from the first visit that Dad was in good hands.

Even as his health declined, Dad was always ready for a
good conversation. I’m not sure that Dad ever fully understood the hospice concept, but he sure did love his visitors. In fact,
I think his enjoyment of life actually increased during that last year. He interacted with so many new people and had many great conversations.

Every person that he came in contact with made him feel important. Anna, his Hospice Aide, could carry on conversations with him even when he was confused, and his speech was difficult to understand. His Massage Therapist, Brenda, made him feel relaxed and softly encouraged him. And Vern, his Spiritual Caregiver, ministered to his soul through prayer and hymns. There were others, too – his Nurse, Social Worker, Volunteer Companion, Music Therapist – who cared for him deeply, with great attention to his needs.

I know how lucky we were to have them. It breaks my heart that many seniors are forgotten in our society, when they have so much spirit left. That’s why Emmanuel Hospice was such a gift to our family. They brought extra meaning to his life that we couldn’t give him alone. With every visit, they made Dad feel special. They remembered little details about him and found ways to connect, even when his illness made it hard.

Emmanuel Hospice treated my Dad with care and dignity, especially at the very end of his life. His Hospice Aide, Anna, was the last person to see him. She didn’t have to,
but she washed him up, shaved him, and got him looking good in his last hours. She treated him like he was a member of her own family. After Dad died, his Nurse Jennifer led our family in a blessing of thanks. Dad had lost his hearing, eyesight, and speech in those final days, but as we stood over him and thanked him for the ways his body and mind had blessed us over the years, I was struck with how dignified those final moments were.

That’s the kind of care that every person deserves at the end of their life. It’s also
the kind of care that Emmanuel Hospice can only provide with your help. Emmanuel Hospice treasures every person they care for, and every family they meet. They
made my Dad feel important and valued, and we are so grateful for that. I hope you understand how meaningful it is to receive that level of care in today’s society. Please consider making a special year-end gift to Emmanuel Hospice, so that this important work can continue for more families. Your financial support brings dignity and comfort at a difficult time, and it means more to us than you can know.


Mitch Newenhouse
Son of Donald “Gene” Newenhouse

Fast Facts About the Season of Lent

Have you ever asked yourself the question: “What is Lent?” If so, here are some fast facts about this season:

  • Lent is spiritual preparation for the celebration of Easter. Both catechumens (those preparing for Baptism) and the faithful prepare for the celebration of the Paschal Mystery at Easter.
  • Lent begins on Ash Wednesday continuing until the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday.
  • The practices of Lent involves prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
  • Lent originated in the first three centuries A.D. and, over the centuries, developed from a one or two day observance to forty days (recalling the 40 day fasts of Christ, Matthew 4:2; Moses, Exodus 34:28; and Elijah, 1 Kings 19:8).
  • During the Season of Lent, the Church urges all the Faithful to reflect a spirit of penance in their daily life through performing acts of fast and abstinence.

Fasting requires that only one full meal be taken per day. Two other smaller meals may be taken during the day to maintain physical strength, but these two meals together should not equal a full meal in quantity. Fasting is an obligation for all those who have reached the age of 18 and continues until age 59. Those not specifically obliged to fast are encouraged to join in the discipline of fasting to the extent that they are able.
Abstinence prohibits individuals from eating meat on a particular day. Abstinence is an obligation for all those who have reached the age of 14 and continues throughout their entire life. Those not specifically obliged to abstain from eating meat are encouraged to join in this discipline to the extent that they are able.
Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fast and abstinence. Fridays in Lent are days of abstinence.

  • Some traditional Lenten practices and suggestions:
    • Fasting and abstinence: donate the money you save to a food pantry
    • Self-denial: use some of your time to help someone out
    • Good deeds and almsgiving: give to a charity or volunteer to be a catechist
    • Prayer and reflection: pray the Rosary or the daily mass readings
    • Church services: attend daily mass or attend stations of the cross services
    • Reading the Bible: read a gospel from beginning to end

Information courtesy of: St. Joseph’s Church in Greenwich Village, NY. Click here for original article.

Our Unified Pursuit of Truth Through Hospice

By Racquel Ladd-Office Administrator

Death and loss are truths that I have wrestled with. Such as you would imagine two rams locking horns slipping on the crumbled rocks along a mountainside. The loss of my mother came unexpectedly to my nine year old mind and had left me battered, confused, and riddled with questions I could not answer. Life became a pursuit of truth. One absolute certainty that was found is that we, as living creations, will all face transition from this earthly life. With birth there will be death, and it will happen at a time that no one outside of our creator can determine.

Realizing that truth is a hard pill to swallow, it also brings to surface another truth of unity. Regardless of race, culture, life style, demographics, and personal preferences, every single one of us will be faced with the experiences of birth, joy, death, and grief. These universal experiences give us opportunity to bond with each other in ways that we may not have done before, providing comfort and support for one another with the truth that we are not alone. As the saying goes (most frequently in my large extended family) “it takes a wedding or a funeral to bring us all together.”

I stumbled across an excerpt by a hospice patient who was asked the question “what is it like to live your life knowing that you are dying?” and her response was “what is it like living pretending that you are not?”

Her answer was love at first sight for me! Death has always been a reality for me without the option of denial. Life was forever changed, and my experience never forgotten. Not until joining the loving, faith-filled, passion-driven family here at Emmanuel Hospice, had I began to heal in ways I never saw possible. My eyes have been opened; life is beautiful and so can be death. It can be healing and unifying, resulting in peace and a closer relationship to our creator. Death with dignity and love as a celebration of life!