Our Mission: To provide a home-like environment where people at the end of life may live fully, receiving compassionate and competent care from professional, volunteer and family caregivers.
Our Care: Residents and their families receive individualized care that addresses their physical, emotional, spiritual, psychological and social needs. Hospice caregivers help control pain and symptoms so residents can live each day more comfortably and with dignity.
Our Vision: To be a community leader and resource for end of life care issues.
Honoring Veterans Veterans represent one-third of all residents served at Omega House. We are honored to serve these residents and have established a special fund to assist in providing care to any veteran in need of local hospice care.
Current News
Portage Health Auxiliary Awards Donation to Omega House
May 2, 2016

Michael Lutz, Omega House executive director,
receiving a check
from Barb Worrall, president of the
Portage Health Auxiliary

Portage Health Auxiliary has given a donation to Omega House to purchase seven Evacusleds. On March 22, Barb Worrall, president of the Portage Health Auxiliary presented a check for $6,772 to Michael Lutz, Executive Director of Omega House.

“Evacusleds” are devices with tiny wheels that fit under bed mattresses. In an emergency that would require evacuating a bed-ridden patient, an evacusled is a device that allows one person to move a patient by transforming the bed into a sled. The “sled” is then pulled across the floor to safety in short order, saving critical time and energy. Evacusleds mount onto the bed and do not affect the patient’s comfort.

On receiving this generous donation, Mike Lutz said, “The safety of our residents is at the top of our priorities. Evacusleds will allow us to reassure residents and family members that their loved ones are receiving the safest and most compassionate care at all times. The Portage Health Auxiliary has always been a great supporter of Omega House and this gift allows us to provide the quality of life each one of our residents deserves.”

Omega House Welcomes Michael Lutz, Executive Director
January 21, 2016

Michael Lutz, new executive director of
Omega House, together with
Deb Young, Omega House president

January 2016 brought a new era to Omega House, as we welcome Mike Lutz as our first executive director. Since 2005, our volunteer board of directors has been a “working board,” actively involved with the operations of the house. Last summer, Ray Weglarz informed the board he was planning to retire as director of community and donor relations. The executive committee and full board evaluated options on how to best replace Ray’s position and meet the immediate needs and long term vision of the House to serve our community. (See Strategic Vision 2020 document on our web page).

Deb Young, president of the Omega House board, said “The board decided it was time for an executive director. After a long search process, Mike was hired. He will oversee all aspects of house operations, as well as donor and community relations. Mike will work closely with our house manager, Mary Kay Grabig, who oversees resident care, admissions, our volunteer program, supervising and hiring staff and bookkeeping.”

Mike is a homegrown Copper Country resident. He grew up in the Calumet area and graduated from Calumet High School and Michigan Tech. Mike has spent nearly 30 years working in health care, where he worked for Mercy Ambulance, Apria and most recently for the Baraga County Memorial Hospital as director of revenue cycle. He draws on his strength in customer service and finance. He has been an active member of the community, lives in Houghton with his wife, Sue and dog Sonny. Golf and snowmobiling are at the top of his outside interests.

Ray will continue to volunteer his time and will rejoin the board of directors. He said, “Working with our donors and community to further the mission of Omega House has been a wonderful experience during the past 5 years. I am blessed to be part of this organization and to have worked closely with so many giving people who are generous with their time, talents and resources. Our staff and volunteers are inspirational. The compassion they display for our residents and their family members is humbling.” As a former hospice nurse and founding board member Ray will continue to speak in our community about the importance of caring for our elders and advocating for hospice care.

Please join with us in welcoming our new executive director, Mike Lutz. We look forward to our future and realizing our expanded vision: “To be a community leader and resource for end of life care.”

$5,000 Gift from Keweenaw Community Foundation for Advance Care Planning
January 21, 2016

KCF executive director Jim Vivian presents
Omega House executive director Mike Lutz
with a $5000 grant for advance
care planning.

We are pleased to continue our partnership with the Keweenaw Community Foundation (KCF) to promote Advance Care Planning (ACP) in our community. In 2015 the KCF provided a $10,000 grant that allowed Omega House to print and distribute free ACP resource materials to members of the community and health care providers. This year we have received a $5,000 grant from KCF to continue to promote ACP in our area at no charge to individuals, families or health care providers.

Advance Care Planning is a “process” which includes discussing personal choices for health care and end-of-life care, designating a “health care advocate” who you trust to honor your choices and documenting and communicating those choices in writing to your health care providers and family members. It is important to remember that your health care advocate only speaks for you if you are not able to communicate yourself. Omega House has trained ACP facilitators who are available to assist you and your loved ones through the ACP process that allows you to discuss, document, and share personal choices for health and end-of-life care.

“We are delighted in receiving this funding from the Keweenaw Community foundation for our Advance Care Planning initiative,” said new Omega House Executive Director, Mike Lutz. “Our strategic vision is to be a community leader in advance care planning. We believe advance care planning is a cornerstone for providing quality person-centered health care.” Through this partnership, the “Five Wishes” ACP forms have been made available to the community at the KCF and Omega House offices. Five Wishes is an easy to use, readily accessible, and legally-binding ACP form that takes into account the individual’s personal, emotional, and spiritual needs as well as his or her medical wishes—putting them firmly in control of their care.

The five thousand dollar grant came from KCF’s Herman Gundlach Fund, named after the late Herman "Winks" Gundlach. Winks championed the cause of end-of-life dignity and autonomy—with hospice and palliative care as well as the “Living Will”, or Advanced Care Directive. Jim Vivian, Executive Director of KCF, said, “Improving the quality of life in our area also means improving the quality of end-of-life, and we could not be prouder of this initiative.”

For more information on advance care planning, or if you would like to schedule a 5 Wishes discussion, please call Carol Pfefferkorn or Kathy Abbott, Omega House ACP facilitators at carolpf@omega-house.org, or Mike Lutz at michael.lutz@omega-house.org.

Goodbye and Hello – House Manager Changes
March 31, 2015

New House Manager of Omega House,
Mary Kay Grabig.

In December we said goodbye to Mary Herlevich who retired from her position as House Manager. We are grateful for her leadership. Throughout our first nine years, Mary oversaw the operations of the House, and guided our aides and volunteers in the care of over 360 residents. We will also miss her sense of humor and the laughter she brought to the House. Thank you Mary for your loyal service.

Our new House Manager is Mary Kay Grabig, who joined us from the Torch Lake Federal Credit Union where she served as CEO and was employed the past twenty five years. Mary Kay shares, “My mother Marilyn Hon was one of the early residents of Omega House. I know from first-hand experience how important it is to provide support for our residents and their families. I am committed to helping continue the Omega House tradition of providing competent and compassionate care.” Mary Kay lives in Laurium with her husband Dan and daughter Gwendolyn. She has 2 sons, Darren ( Joni) and Jeff and a step-son Josh (Emma) who is serving in the Air Force overseas. Welcome Mary Kay!

Superior Health Foundation Awards Major Grant to Omega House
March 26, 2015

Representatives from UP non-profits
receiving grants at the SHF inaugural awards at NMU.

The Superior Health Foundation (SHF) recently awarded Omega House a grant for $25,956. Guy St. Germain, Omega House board member and Raymond Weglarz, Development Director, attended the SHF inaugural awards event in Marquette to accept the award. Representatives from 25 UP non-profit organizations were on hand to receive awards at the celebration at which SHF awarded more than $321,000 non-profit organizations committed to improving health care and access to care and services to those in need across the UP.

Ray said. “We are thrilled to receive this award which will directly help our residents who are not able to pay for the full cost of their care. We are most grateful to Jim Lajoie, SHF Executive Director and their entire board for this generous gift, it is the largest grant we have every received. We remain committed to providing care to anyone in need, regardless of their financial circumstances and this award will help us to do that.”

The SHF is a “conversion foundation,” created after the sale of MGH to LifePoint. SHF has a UP wide mission and vision - “To assist with unmet healthcare needs, with health education, and with programs and research on preventing illness and promoting health.” For more information about the SHF and their granting programs visit superiorhealthfoundation.org, or contact Jim LaJoie at 906-225-6914.

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