Passages Hospice Rolls Out New Programs in Honor of MLK Jr. Day

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Passages Hospice carries on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Legacy

Passages Hospice. Your life. Your choice. Your passage.

Martin Luther King, Jr. paved the way for the Civil Rights movement. He believed in equality, freedom and community. Passages Hospice is striving to carry on his legacy by breaking down social barriers and serving our communities.

Caucasians account for 83% of all hospice patients in the United States while 8.5% are African Americans, 6.2% are Hispanics, and less than 3% are members of other ethnic groups according to a study by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. Studies suggest that the dramatic difference in the numbers is due to misunderstandings about what hospice care is, including that hospice staff "take over" care from the family or that hospice means families are giving up on their loved one. However, hospice focuses on the patient’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs while improving their quality of life. The primary goal is to provide comfort, manage pain and allow the patient to live with dignity. It is a goal of Passages Hospice to educate these minority groups so everyone has the equal opportunity to receive quality end of life care.

Passages Hospice has expanded its program to reach out to minority groups, such as, Asians, Latinos and African Americans who require end of life care. One program that we have developed is called Cuidado Compasivo por la Familia ("Compassionate Family Care"). Cuidado Compasivo uses a range of educational materials, bilingual staff and community events to address these concerns and build relationships with local healthcare organizations. The program has been successful in doubling the number of Latino patients who have benefited from Passages Hospice care over the last few years, putting Passages Hospice well above the national average for Latino patients.

"Every family that finds relief with hospice care makes a difference," said Michael Gillman, Passages Hospice Administrator. "We're committed to reaching every patient and family in need."

Martin Luther King, Jr. dedicated his life to fellow African Americans, as well as, all communities who strive for equal rights. Passages is committed to improving our communities by serving others. Passages Hospice volunteers represent a diverse population of students, retirees, homemakers, professionals and service groups. Each volunteer gives their time for unique reasons, but they all share a common interest in enhancing the well-being of our patients and their families during their end-of-life journey regardless of their race, religion, or sexual orientation.

Volunteers are an essential part of Passages Hospice because they are able to bring comfort, company and a sense of community to our patients. Dying is a personal event and can be a very challenging time for everyone involved. Our volunteers can alleviate some of the pain by offering their gifts. Often, a patient or family member just needs a listening ear or a companion. Recently, one of our volunteers made a connection with a withdrawn dementia patient that is on our services. The volunteer played the patient’s favorite artist, Johnny Cash, during visits. As a result, the music provided an avenue for the patient to communicate. The patient would smile and sometimes cry while listening to the music. Building trusting relationships like this one is essential to break down social barriers.

“Not only is it important that our patients and family receive support from Volunteers but it is vital to their well-being,” stated Director of Volunteer Services Nicole Brokaw. “Stories such as these happen more often than not in our line of work. Our Volunteers are the heart of what we do.”

Passages Hospice continues to honor Martin Luther King Jr.’s mission through our many diverse programs and services. For more information about Passages Hospice, visit or call 888-741-8985.

About Passages Hospice
Passages Hospice, LLC, is a patient-centered hospice service providing patient care with the utmost levels of compassion and respect. Passages seeks to provide holistic care, including the interdisciplinary team, medications, supplies and other treatment options to address the medical, emotional and spiritual needs of individuals and families across Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Wisconsin. For more information please call 630-824-0400 or visit Passages Hospice on the web at

Kamie Freeland
Passages Hospice (

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