Harbor Hospice

Applications Being Accepted for 29th Annual Camp Courage

Healing Center offers again in-person camp for grieving children and teens.

[West Michigan] Harbor Hospice has been offering Camp Courage for 28 years as a way to help children and their families following the death of a loved one. The emotions of grief can be overwhelming and isolating for children who have not yet developed the verbal and emotional skills to navigate the grief process.

“We are very excited to provide in person camp again this year. The directors feel that having in person camp allows for us to provide the best support for these grieving children,” said Kari Allen, LMSW Social Worker/Camp Co-Director. “With everyone’s health in mind, this year will look a bit different in regard to regulations, masking, testing and social distancing. It will be a wonderful, safe and beneficial weekend filled with crafts, friends, activities and camping fun!”

Children grieve differently than adults and need time to just “be kids” as well as time to honor and remember their loved one. Kids often feel alone in their grief and thrive when able to connect with others who understand their unique experience.

Harbor Hospice staff and trained volunteers create a safe, stable environment for children to explore and express their grief, remember their loved one, and connect with others who have experienced a death. Children participate in traditional camp activities such as swimming, hiking and campfires, along with grief-tailored activities that teach healthy coping skills.

This weekend overnight camping experience for children and teens ages 6-19, is held at Pioneer Trails on Big Blue Lake in Muskegon County. Camp Courage 2022 will be held Friday, June 17 through Sunday, June 19. Application deadline is Tuesday, May 10. The only cost is a $10 registration fee per camper.

For more information or to register, contact Kari Allen at 231.728.3442 / 1.800.497.9559 or email info@HarborHospiceMI.org or visit our website at HarborHospiceMI.org.

Purse Party Auction to Benefit Camp Courage – April 24, 2022

Spring Purse Party sale and auction will help children who are grieving the death of someone they love

Have you been searching for the perfect new handbag?

You’ll find plenty to choose from during the 6th annual Purse Party April 24 at the Eagles in Whitehall, and every purchase you make will help fund Camp Courage for children in West Michigan who are grieving the death of someone close.

The Purse Party will feature both a live and silent auction with hundreds of new and gently used items, from casual clutches to high-end designer bags. And with prices starting at just $5, you can buy several!

New this year, local artists and designers are embellishing some of the purses that will be featured in the live auction.

Doors open at 1:00 p.m. Everyone is welcome. An Eagle membership is not needed to attend this fun event.

The Purse Party has raised more than $7,000 for Camp Courage, helping make it possible for each child who attends the three-day sleep-away camp to receive a full scholarship.

Camp Courage provides such a valuable opportunity for children to learn to cope with the difficulties of grieving,” says Ashley Spencer, who co-created the Purse Party and organizes it with Ladies of the White Lake Community.

Donations of purses and handbags for the event are welcome. They can be dropped off before April 15 at many locations in Whitehall and Montague, and at Harbor Hospice and the Leila and Cyrus Poppen Hospice Residence in Muskegon.

Camp Courage is a program of the Bob & Merle Scolnik Healing Center of Harbor Hospice, which provides hospice and palliative care and grief counseling to children and adults in Muskegon, Oceana, Mason, Ottawa, and Newaygo Counties.

The event is free. An auction bidding paddle is $2, which enrolls the bidder in a door prize drawing.

For more information, or if you would like to embellish one of the handbags for the auction call 231-728-3442 or send an e-mail to info@HarborHospiceMI.org. Information is also posted on the Harbor Hospice website.

Former Harbor Hospice Nurse/Volunteer Recognized Nationally

Former Harbor Hospice nurse and volunteer recognized as a National Volunteers are the Foundation of Hospice Awardee

[March 8, 2022, West Michigan] – The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) will present its annual Volunteers are the Foundation of Hospice Awards during the 2022 Leadership and Advocacy Conference hosted at the Gaylord National Resort and Conference Center (March 7 – 9) in Maryland.

Dan Poel, former Harbor Hospice Registered Nurse and volunteer has been awarded NHPCO’s Volunteers are the Foundation of Hospice Award in the area of Organizational Support. Dan was nominated for volunteering during the pandemic to administer over 4,500 COVID-19 test to the hospice and palliative care staff.

The NHPCO Volunteer awards, presented at the conference keynotes sessions, recognize hospice volunteers who best reflect the universal concept of volunteerism in its truest sense—serving as an inspiration to others. The honorees have made significant contributions to hospice programs in the areas of care delivery, organizational support, and teamwork and have stepped up to meet challenges that have been brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Dan is one of five volunteers that will be honored at this year’s conference.

“Dan demonstrated courage and commitment in the throes of the pandemic to conduct COVID-19 testing for our staff on a weekly basis for months,” said Harbor Hospice President/CEO Susan Houseman. “We are grateful for Dan’s selfless act of service in the most challenging of times. His commitment was a vital and invaluable contribution to keep our staff safe and working.


“Volunteers are an integral part of every hospice organization, and these selfless people truly represent the best of what we can be. That’s why we celebrate the volunteers who demonstrate remarkable service, compassion, and commitment in service of hospices in their communities. Their gift of caring has a profound impact on patients, families, and the communities they serve, and we cannot thank them enough for the support they provide,” said NHPCO President and CEO Edo Banach.

“Hospice volunteers play an indispensable role in enabling hospice and palliative care organizations to offer the highest-quality care and support possible for the people they serve. By sharing their time, energy, and expertise, volunteers bring compassion and caring to the lives of those in need,” added Banach.

These volunteer awards were created and are administered by NHPCO’s MyNHPCO Professional Community, a section of the organization’s membership that promotes the contributions and skills of the different professional disciplines that make up the hospice interdisciplinary team, including volunteer management. The awards are presented as part of the Leadership and Advocacy Conference, the premier conference for leaders and aspiring leaders working to advance the field of hospice and palliative care. Learn more about hospice and palliative care at NHPCO’s CaringInfo.org website.

For more information about the Harbor Hospice-Volunteer program, visit our website at HarborHospiceMI.org.
Click here to learn more about NHPCO.

Annual Open House to Welcome Home Our Vietnam Veterans – March 29th

submitted by Richard Vanderputte-McPherson, Communications Specialist, Harbor Hospice


West Michigan – Harbor Hospice-We Honor Veterans, Chaplain Wes and Lil Spyke, and Muskegon County Department of Veterans Affairs are partnering to present an annual community event to honor and welcome home our Vietnam Veterans. All Vietnam veterans and their families, supporters, and veterans of all eras are invited to the 4th Annual Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans event on Tuesday, March 29 at Veterans Affairs, 97 E. Apple Avenue, Muskegon, MI 49442, Room 119.

“The We Honor Veterans program gives us the opportunity to recognize the sacrifices not only our veterans have made, but their families as well. It shows our community we are intentional about meeting our veterans’ specific needs while providing compassionate care,” Amber Wallace, Volunteer & Events Coordinator, Harbor Hospice. “We are thrilled to partner with Chaplain Wes & Lil Spyke, and the Muskegon County Department of Veterans Affairs for this event.”

An open house-style event 9:00 am – 11:00 am with fellowship, story sharing, recognition, and a variety of donuts and coffee.

“As part of individualizing our care here at Harbor our team assesses for military background to ensure to explore for potential needs and to explore available benefits to the individual or their family,” said Pamela Wingard, LMSW, Social Work & Counseling Services Manager, Harbor Hospice.

Event is free to attend for veterans, their families, and supporters; for questions, please call Chaplain Wes at 231.557.2502.

For more information about the Harbor Hospice-We Honor Veterans program, call 231.728.3442 / 1.800.497.9559 or email info@HarborHospiceMI.org or visit our website at HarborHospiceMI.org.

7th Annual Veterans Chili Dinner to Honor Our Local Heroes

West Michigan – Harbor Hospice, Clock Funeral Home, and Muskegon County Department of Veterans Affairs are partnering to present a special community event to honor and thank our local heroes. All veterans and their families are invited to the 7th Annual Veterans Chili Dinner on Tuesday, December 7th at Clock Funeral Home.

“We are so thrilled to be hosting this event as we continue to come out of COVID. Every year we have amazing food, but we are expecting this year’s selections of chili, mac and cheese, desserts, along with all the trimmings to be over the top! Food equals love,” said Dale and Jodi Clock of Clock Funeral Home. “By sharing a meal with those who have served and protected this country, it is our way of saying thank you!”

This will be an open house-style event 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm with fellowship, story sharing, a pinning ceremony and a variety of homemade chili and desserts.

“This annual event is very special for our veterans, and they look forward to it each year!  They have a chance to reminisce with old friends while enjoying a wonderful dinner together.  Harbor Hospice acknowledges the service of our veterans at this event with our “We Honor Veteran’s Program”.  As part of this program, we will be pinning all veterans prior to dinner. We are proud to partner with Clock Funeral Home and the Muskegon County Department of Veteran’s Affairs for this event!” said Lori Goudie, community engagement specialist, Harbor Hospice and Harbor Palliative Care.

This event is free to attend for veterans and their families; for questions or to RSVP please call 231.722.3721. RSVPs are encouraged but not required.

COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate for Harbor Hospice Agency

Forwarded on behalf of Susan Houseman, President and CEO, Dr. Gerald Harriman, Medical Director, and Stephanie Fiebig, Human Resources Manager

Good afternoon –

As you know, there have been many questions regarding the position of Harbor Hospice regarding the potential mandate of the COVID-19 vaccination.  Our approach thus far has been to strongly encourage the vaccine for all our employees, volunteers, and contracted workers.  In September, after several health systems were moving forward with a vaccine including Trinity Health, we discussed whether we should procced with a mandate.  After an in-depth review, we decided with the support of the Board of Directors, to continue our approach of encouraging those who work for Harbor Hospice and do business with us to get the vaccine and to continue to take appropriate precautions to mitigate risk and the spread of the disease through masking, sanitizing, distancing, and other appropriate measures.  To date, over 70% of our employees have been fully vaccinated.  Through the efforts from our town hall meetings provided by Dr. Harriman and other educational resources, we have gradually increased our organization’s vaccination rate since the vaccine become available.  However, in anticipation that we could potentially be impacted by a Federal vaccine mandate and we began to work on a preparation plan. 

On November 5th, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid issued an emergency regulation requiring the COVID-19 vaccine for all health care staff who work in organizations that participate in Medicare and Medicare Programs.  This national requirement protects patients at nearly 76,000 providers and covers more than 17 million health care workers.  Hospice organizations fall under this emergency regulation.  When health care staff cannot work because of illness or exposure to COVID-19, the strain on the health care system becomes more severe and further limits patient access to safe and essential care.  Your safety and the safety of our patients and families is our top priority.

Therefore, effective November 23rd, Harbor Hospice will require for all employees, volunteers, students, and contracted workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.  Please click here to see the memorandum for additional details, required action items and timeline. 

Raising Awareness of the Benefits of Hospice and Palliative Care

Harbor Hospice & Harbor Palliative Care Celebrate November’s National Hospice and Palliative Care Month


[Muskegon, Michigan] – Throughout the month of November, Harbor Hospice and Harbor Palliative Care will be joining organizations across the nation hosting community activities in recognition of National Hospice & Palliative Care Month.

For more than 40 years, hospice has helped provide comfort and dignity to millions of people, allowing them to spend their final months wherever they call home, surrounded by their loved ones. Hospices ensure that pain management, therapies, and treatments all support a plan of care that is centered on the person’s goals. Hospice care also provides emotional support and advice to help family members become confident caregivers and adjust to the future with grief support for up to a year.

“It is essential that people understand that hospice and palliative care is not giving up, it is not the abandonment of care, and it is not reserved for the imminently dying,” said Edo Banach, president and CEO of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. “Hospice is a successful model of person-centered care that brings hope, dignity and compassion when they are most needed.”

In 2018, 1.61 million Medicare beneficiaries received care from hospices in this country, reports NHPCO. Hospice is unique in that it offers an interdisciplinary team approach to treatment. Caring for the whole person allows the team to address each patient’s unique needs and challenges.

“Until you are confronted with a life limiting illness many people are unaware how Palliative and Hospice services can help support conversations with loved ones about what is really important to you,” notes Pamela Wingard, social work & counseling services manager for Harbor Hospice. “Palliative and Hospice care teams offer resources, education, and support to explore how your illness impacts your life and your loved ones. With this information you can make plans and decisions that suit you and what you want, allowing you to get back to focusing on what makes every day count.”

As John Smith, a hospice volunteer at Main Street hospice noted, “Someone asked why I spend time volunteering for hospice. It’s because hospice was there for my family at a difficult time in our lives, and because hospice staff provide the best care possible when you need it most. And I want to help other families get that same level of care.”

Hospices are also some of the best providers of community-based palliative care. Palliative care delivers expertise to improve quality of life and relief from pain. It can be provided at any time during an illness – during and after treatment, from diagnosis on.

More information about hospice, palliative care, and advance care planning is available from Harbor Hospice & Harbor Palliative Care by visiting HarborHospiceMI.org or from NHPCO’s CaringInfo.org.

Grief and the Holidays Group Support Event – November 9th

Harbor Hospice’s Scolnik Healing Center offers grief and loss support for navigating through the holidays


These last two years coronavirus has taken over our personal and professional lives in ways we never imagined, and as a result, there are many who are grieving many types of losses including those related to COVID-19.

These losses will be difficult with the approaching holidays, winter months, and may encroach into the new year for many of our friends and family.

The Bob and Merle Scolnik Healing Center of Harbor Hospice will be offering their annual Grief and the Holidays group event on Tuesday, November 9th at 6:00 PM. The event will take place virtually. Join us for meaningful insights and ideas to help navigate holidays and other special days after a loved one has died. If you are experiencing the death of a loved one because of COVID19 or any type of loss, please register in advance for Grief and the Holidays group event. Pre-registration required online: http://weblink.donorperfect.com/GriefandHolidays2021

The Scolnik Healing Center began in 2012 as a means of providing grief support to our West Michigan community as well as our hospice families. Our grief counselors are specialists in grief and trained in trauma and adverse childhood experiences – both of which significantly influence grief reactions following a death or other significant loss.

All the services offered through the Scolnik Healing Center of Harbor Hospice are available to anyone in the community at no cost. This is possible through generous donors and special fundraisers held throughout the year. 

Harbor Hospice and Palliative Care now offer Harbor Tele-Health services, which enable us to continue to meet with clients and facilitate grief groups online through HIPAA compliant platforms.

If you or a friend or family member would like to talk to a grief counselor, please call us at 231.728.3442/1.800.497.9559 or email info@HarborHospiceMI.org

Harbor Hospice Named as Prestigious 2021 Hospice Honors ELITE Recipient

[West Michigan] — Harbor Hospice has been named a 2021 Hospice Honors Elite recipient by HEALTHCAREfirst, a leading provider of billing and coding services, CAHPS surveys, and advanced analytics. This prestigious annual review recognizes agencies that continuously provide the highest level of quality care as measured from the caregiver’s point of view. It acknowledges the highest performing agencies by analyzing the performance of the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) hospice survey satisfaction measures.

“Hospice Honors Elite recipients are industry leaders in providing quality care and constantly seeking ways to improve,” said Ronda Howard, Vice President Revenue Cycle and CAHPS at HEALTHCAREfirst. “We are honored to be aligned with such high performing agencies like Harbor Hospice and we congratulate them on their success.”

Award criteria were based on Hospice CAHPS survey results for an evaluation period of October 2019 through September 2020. Award recipients were identified by evaluating performance on a set of 24 quality indicator measures. Performance scores were aggregated from all completed surveys and were compared on a question-by-question basis to a National Performance Score calculated from all hospices contained in the HEALTHCAREfirst’s Hospice CAHPS database. Hospice Honors recipients include those hospices scoring above the HEALTHCAREfirst National Performance Score on 20 of the evaluated questions. HEALTHCAREfirst holds a special recognition, Hospice Honors Elite, to honor hospices scoring above the HEALTHCAREfirst National Performance Score on all 24 of the evaluated questions. Please visit HEALTHCAREfirst’s website at www.healthcarefirst.com to learn more about HEALTHCAREfirst’s Hospice CAHPS survey program as well as the Hospice Honors awards.

“Our dedicated staff and volunteers of Harbor Hospice have achieved this special designation in demonstrating unwavering excellence in end of life care in the most challenging of circumstances during a global pandemic. It is our privilege to be able to offer essential and  valuable care and services to the communities we serve. We thank patients and families for trusting us with their care and for providing feedback that validates that we are making a difference,” said Susan Houseman, President CEO.

For more information about Harbor Hospice and Harbor Palliative Care please call 231.728.3442 or visit www.HarborHospiceMI.org.

For more information about HEALTHCAREfirst, please call 800.841.6095 or visit www.healthcarefirst.com.



5K and leisure bike ride held virtually to remember, and honor loved ones.

The community in Muskegon County and beyond took to the streets and trails to run, jog, walk or bike – and support a great cause, May 22nd – 29th. To everyone who participated and shared in our Annual Run and Ride to Remember, THANK YOU!

Due to CDC and Michigan guidelines and regulations, we were not physically able to hold large gatherings for these events. Many participants still took part in the virtual formats enjoying some fresh air while practicing safe social distancing during the week.

Proceeds from the virtual 5k and bike ride events help sustain the Leila & Cyrus Poppen Hospice Residence, a program of Harbor Hospice. Located in Fruitport Township, the fourteen private patient room residence has been a welcoming home with compassionate and expert care for over 3,000 terminally ill patients since it opened in 2005.

Thanks to all our participants and donors, the staff and volunteers at the Poppen Residence will welcome patients into a home where every detail has been thoughtfully provided and no one is turned away regardless of ability to pay.

It is through the help and generosity of our community that we can continue providing compassionate and expert care to people who are terminally ill and in the final stages of life, when providing care at home is no longer the best option. The Poppen Hospice Residence exemplifies the unique vision of Harbor Hospice providing people with the opportunity to live out their journey – on their terms – with the help of our expertise.

“Although our event looked different this year, The Run and Ride to Remember continues to help sustain the Leila and Cyrus Poppen Hospice Residence. The event is successful because of the participants, Fruitport Lions Club, Fruitport Chiropractic, and X-Cell Integrated Health. Thank You!!,” said Ammy Seymour, Director of Development for the Harbor Hospice Foundation.

5K, crowdfunding, and more details can be read by visiting HarborHospiceMI.org/runrideremember. We look forward to holding in-person events for the annual 5K and bike ride in 2022! Save the date for Saturday, May 28!