Portage Health celebrates Hospice Month

November is National Hospice Month and the Portage Health Hospital in Hancock commemorated those who have passed away this year with the ringing of the bells to unify the hospice message of remembering patients and families.

More than 60 people who received hospice care over the past year were remembered at a ceremony held at the Portage Health Hospital Friday.  Friends and family gathered in the lobby as the Bells By The Bay Hand–Bell Choir performed a hymn and were later joined by Pastor David Weber, who also performed an original Christian song of his.

Event Coordinator Marianne Berghefer says the observance is relatively new.

“The state of Michigan started this four years ago so it’s quite new and it’s just statewide. We would like to get it nationwide. That would be wonderful,” Berghefer said.

Part of the ceremony involves a bell being rung after each name is recited.  Among the guests at the ceremony were family of the deceased, patients from the hospice and caregivers.

Berghefer also says this event is one of the most important ones during the year.

“Bells for Hospice is to acknowledge our hospice patients that have passed during the year. And also to show respect and honor to the families and caregivers.”

The hospital organizes events like these to help ease the pain of grieving for those who have lost a friend or a loved one.