The Hospice Assist Program

Our non-medical, person-centered volunteer support program serves Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet and Otsego County residents, free of charge. We provide this caregiver training to individual and community groups to help educate our communities on caregiver strategies that support family and community members and promote the idea that we can and should take care of each other. Through this outreach, we are able to refer those in need to local community service groups who can offer sensible, social and respite support for people of all ages experiencing advanced illnesses themselves or a caregiver of someone in this situation. 

In order to provide these training sessions and referral services free of charge, our staff and board members raise funds through grants, donations and earned income opportunities. Because of this unique support structure, we are not bound to any restrictions regarding a certain ‘end of life’ time-frame nor are we limited in our scope of service because someone wants to pursue curative treatment. We are here to support each person’s journey by helping find non-medical help that is needed for quality of life. 

Though Northwest Michigan Hospice Assist does not provide medical assistance, we work with local agencies, church and civic groups to provide the following: 

  • Socialization and companionship
  • Emotional support
  • Respite for family caregivers
  • Limited transportation 
  • Errands, meal preparation and other household tasks
  • Accompaniment on outings (for ambulatory clients)

Individuals with serious, life-limiting illness and their caregivers living in the counties we serve may benefit from our service resources. If you or someone you love is experiencing the following, please give us a call:  

  • Individuals facing acute decline in functioning or progression of illness
  • Individuals pursuing curative treatment or receiving hospice services

Referrals from healthcare providers and other community agencies as well as individual inquiries are all accepted.

Our Programs

Northwest Michigan Hospice Assist (founded in 1982 as Charlevoix County Hospice and serving since 2002 as the non-medical partner in Hospice of Northwest Michigan) provides compassionate social supports, without charge, in Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet and Otsego Counties. We support families and persons facing life-threatening illness and those experiencing grief. Our community and professional education programs increase awareness and action around end-of-life issues, advance care planning and grief. 

Reading a book together

Volunteer Assist Program

Our Volunteer Assist Program works with faith-based and civic groups to provide caregiver training in order to create a base of local, compassionate volunteers. These groups can then feel more confident in serving people of all ages having serious illness, becoming a resource for local caregivers who are actively caring for someone in their home. Even if these individuals want to continue to receive curative treatment, our Volunteer Assist Program strives to find resources for the cared for and caregiver, wherever the individual calls home.

Northwest Michigan Hospice Assist does not provide medical services, but through our training programs and outreach with area faith-based and civic groups, are able to supplement those services that may be in place by local medical hospices as well as those not on hospice services facing chronic and severe illness that has progressed to a point where supplemental help is needed. 

Adult Grief Assist Support Groups

Bereavement support groups enable people who have experienced the death of a loved one to share their stories, learn from one another and create support networks. Northwest Michigan Hospice Assist Spiritual Advisor and Bereavement Coordinator, David Behling, facilitates these groups. Most are generally held monthly with several intensive “Journey Through Grief” weekly sessions planned throughout the year. Additional groups are formed based on community need.

Nurse taking care of senior man
sad son hugging his dad

Good Grief Assist for Children

Through conversations and activities, Good Grief help school children in grades K-12 explore their feelings, develop healthy coping strategies and find comfort in learning that they are not alone in their grief. These school-based seven-week support groups are facilitated by David Behling, Northwest Michigan Hospice Assist’s Spiritual Advisor and Bereavement Coordinator. Sessions occur at school during the school day in partnership with several area public schools. Monthly sessions after the initial seven-week session are also available.


Community Assist Education and Awareness

Our Community Education events increase knowledge and skills in the areas of caregiver help, loss, end-of-life, death and grieving. We host educational talks primarily for community members; sponsor continuing education credit (CEU) workshops for health and human services professionals; and regularly speak to organizations on a variety of topics. Northwest Michigan Hospice Assist delivers specialized workshops on advance care planning, including how to talk with family and doctors about end-of-life options and desires and, once decisions are made, how to document these decisions by completing an advance directive that best details your end-of-life wishes and who you have named as your health care agent.

Seniors making notes

Northwest Michigan Hospice Assists programs to provide compassionate support through illness and grief.