the history of our community hospice
The term "hospice" originated in the Middle Ages and described way stations which were established along the route to the Holy Land. Pilgrims would travel by day and seek shelter, food, and other comforts at these hospices. The word has always had the connotation of a haven for people on a journey. The word “hospice” means “lodging for travelers.” In the 19th century, the Irish Sisters of Charity cared for "incurables" in places they called hospices.
The modern hospice originated in London, England, where Dr. Cicely Saunders opened St. Christopher's Hospice in 1965. It has been a model for all developing hospice programs throughout the world. In the State of Michigan, alone, there are over 100 hospice programs.
What is now known as Munson Hospice was started in Traverse City in 1979 as Grand Traverse Area Hospice. Margaret McCrystal, RN and Thomas Stoll, pastor at Grace Episcopal Church, gathered many people together who were interested in improving care of the dying and their families in this area. The volunteers included those who had family members who were ill and those who anticipated having family members who would use this service. A joint board with Traverse City Osteopathic Hospital and Munson Hospital was formed. Grand Traverse Area Hospice was certified by the State of Michigan on January 7, 1979, received Joint Commission accreditation (one of the 1st hospices to be certified by the Joint Commission), and then received Medicare Certification.
The first patient was admitted to Grand Traverse Area Hospice in August of 1978, and the second patient in January of 1979.
In 1983, the first three volunteers accepted patient assignments. Three of our early volunteers, Ronnie Lewis, Margaret Dunn, and Jan Chapman are still active to t with Ronnie Lewis working with other volunteers in the Benzie area as a consultant and Margaret volunteering in the office every Wednesday afternoon. Jan works with patient care and was a part of the Speakers Bureau for years.
In 1999, the name Grand Traverse Area Hospice was changed to Munson Hospice and Palliative Care.