Opening Our Hearts to an Ailing One
It's a sad reality of the times we live in: A life well spent doesn't guarantee the resources needed for help and care when that life needs it most. Such was the case when Michael Johnson was stricken with congestive heart failure at the irreconcilable age of just 54. The doctors said there was no hope; and health insurance, Medicare and Medicaid said there was no help.
There was, however, the Charity Care Program at Arbor Hospice. Over the years it has helped dozens of families, lacking the benefit of insurance; make the peaceful, comfortable and dignified end-of-life transitions they deserve.
Michael came under Arbor Hospice's care this past October. He had worked as long as he could before going on disability due to his ailing heart. As time passed, his health insurance through his employer went away. He was too young for Medicare and he was not eligible for Medicaid assistance.
"To qualify, they wouldn't have been able to pay their bills," said Tammie, the Arbor Hospice social worker assigned to help the Johnsons. "Unfortunately we see this more and more in today's economy, where the traditional options aren't available. Our philosophy has always been to provide families like the Johnsons everything they need without the burden of bills."
Tammie made weekly visits to the Johnson's Belleville home, providing emotional support and helping Barbara, Michael's wife, explore every option for medical and financial help. An Arbor Hospice nurse visited at least twice a week, keeping Michael as comfortable as possible.
"Not once did we feel like we were treated any differently because we had no insurance," Barbara said. "With all we were going through, that was so important to us."
When Michael's condition worsened, he was moved to The Residence of Arbor Hospice, where he received more extensive medical treatment. After two days, with his pain under control, Michael was moved back home. In February, he passed away peacefully with Barbara at his bedside.
"I can't imagine what Michael would have gone through without the care he got from Arbor Hospice," Barbara said.
How can anyone possibly put a price on that?
Some say charity begins at home. We believe it lives on at Arbor Hospice.