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Unique approach for a unique place

Trillium House: Providing Hospice and Respite Comfort Outside of the Home

Trillium House in Marquette is located 1144 Northland Drive. (Courtesy photo)

MARQUETTE — At Trillium House, the mission has always been to provide compassionate, 24-hour care and support for those who are enrolled in hospice care.

Tucked into a quiet neighborhood in Marquette south of 41, the eight-bedroom adult foster care is designed with privacy, dignity and independence in mind. Private bedrooms and bathrooms are offered for each resident and their loved ones.

In this setting, families can spend time together privately while the staff takes care of the day-to-day tasks of living, allowing them to really enjoy and celebrate their loved ones’ lives together.

While providing care designed uniquely for each resident, the Trillium House team looks for ways to elevate the experience for residents. Most recently, the team recognized an opportunity to enhance comfort through warm blankets. In the process of applying for a grant from the Superior Health Foundation for blanket warming cabinets like the ones used in hospitals, they sought letters of support from Trillium House leadership and the community.

Dr. Michael Grossman, Chief Hospice Medical Director at UP Hospice and also the President of the Board of Directors at Trillium House, was asked to write a letter.

He did one better-he wrote a song. The song, entitled “Warm Blanket,” was written and performed by Dr. Grossman and local musician Jenn Copeman at the SHF office in support of the grant application. Through its chorus, the song stressed the importance of comfort, “your touch is like a warm blanket,” and the soothing, healing feeling that a warm blanket can deliver.

This extraordinary and unique approach to a grant request was appreciated by SHF. In turn, the SHF team made a recording, which you can find on the Trillium House and the SHF Facebook pages. In addition to gaining the attention of SHF and the greater community through this unique approach to the grant request, the song also sheds light on the importance of these types of comfort measures and the impact they can have on quality of life.

The residents at Trillium House often find difficulty in regulating their temperature. Although room temperature may seem comfortable or even warm to those around them, many residents often report feeling cold. Their hands, legs, and feet may become cool to the touch. In some cases, they are unable to verbally express that they are cold, instead displaying signs of discomfort.

The use of warm blankets can be especially helpful to individuals who need immediate, moderate warmth treatment, without extended consistent high temperatures such as those created by an electric blanket or increased room temperature. In some cases, individuals in hospice can become hyperthermic (too warm), so it is critical to include temperature management in the overall plan of care.

In addition to offering comfort, warm blankets can offer various medical benefits, providing safe, evenly distributed heat that can promote relaxation, contributing to improved sleep quality, reducing stress and enhancing emotional state. The application of warmth through blankets may also help alleviate muscle tension and joint stiffness, which can be particularly beneficial for individuals with conditions like arthritis or other musculoskeletal issues as well as some cancer-related pain. Warmth is also known to improve blood circulation, potentially aiding in pain management which also promotes a sense of comfort, relaxation and rest.

Studies assessing vulnerable adults in a hospital setting (in pain, cold, anxious) regarding their level of discomfort before and one hour after application of a warm blanket have indicated that the level of discomfort after receiving the blanket was significantly less. Other studies show that nonpharmacologic measures, such as warmed blankets, can be used along with pharmacologic measures to reduce pain.

Trillium House recognized the opportunity to enhance the care they deliver to their residents through the use of warm blankets. Not only are there medical benefits as outlined here, but the team at Trillium House understands that wrapping a cold, uncomfortable, anxious person in a warm, soft blanket demonstrates care, compassion, and that “warm hug” that helps them feel safe and valued.

Seeing the value of these warm blankets and appreciating Trillium House’s creative approach, SHF approved grant funding. The blanket warming cabinets are on their way to Trillium House to offer added comfort to those in need. The Trillium House team is excited for this new opportunity to enhance the level of excellence they’ve always strived for when it comes to resident and family care.

For those with questions about Trillium House services, Trillium House offers a special open house each Wednesday from 12-1 pm during “Welcome Wednesday.” Visitors are provided with a complimentary tour and a homemade lunch while the team helps answer questions regarding services and resources. It’s a great opportunity to meet the staff, see first-hand what happens at Trillium House, how they work in partnership with hospice agencies, what a short-term stay for respite needs looks like, if Trillium House is the right fit for your family, or how you can be involved.

RSVP at 906-264-5026 for lunch. Trillium House is located at 1144 Northland Drive in Marquette.

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