Text Size

A

A

Reset Text

Questions? We're here for you.

(800) 553-4289

 

Hospice Memory Care Suites Open in Madison

mother and daughter supporting each otherIn mid-December, Agrace is opening a new feature on our Madison campus—12 Hospice Memory Care Suites. This secure, home-like section of our Residence gives us the capability to care for people who need both end-of-life care and additional support for their memory care needs. Medical care in the Suites is provided 24 hours a day by nurses with specialized memory care training, and overseen by doctors and nurse practitioners with expertise in geriatric psychiatry and dementia.

The Suites are for patients who choose to pay to live at Agrace rather than at home. This setting has several benefits:

  • Specialized memory care at the end of life can reduce agitation and discomfort, as well as the need for antibiotics, IV medications and hospitalizations.
  • There is less risk of a patient wandering into unsafe situations when they live in a secure environment.
  • The Suites are designed with comforting features like continuous circulation paths, calming artwork, views of nature and a secure outdoor courtyard.

For more information about living in the Hospice Memory Care Suites, call (608) 327-7117.

 

Wishing for Fishing

In August, Agrace HospiceCare patient Johnny Myrick had a wish fulfilled as he spent a beautiful morning fishing on Lake Mendota in Madison. The donor-funded Agrace Wish program provided and paid for a pontoon boat ride for the occasion, and arranged for assistance from avid angler Jim Siebers and Agrace volunteer Lan Waddell.

“Johnny was extremely happy to get out on a boat again,” says his Agrace nurse, Sierra Jiran. “When we talk about fishing, he is a whole new person. Doing something that he used to do all the time—and is passionate about—really helped with his quality of life.”

Learn about the Wish Program

 

Calm and Comfortable, Thanks to Attention from Agrace

Kraig Kritz lives in Muscoda, where Agrace’s Platteville-based hospice team visits to help manage his symptoms and keep him comfortable. Kraig’s weekly volunteer, Terri McGraw, reads his favorite Scooby-Doo books to him and gives him lots of individual attention. His sister, Kleo Baruth Kritz, believes Kraig, who has Down syndrome, is calmer and more comfortable because of the frequent contact with his Agrace CNA, social worker, nurse and volunteers. Kleo says, “Kraig is so fortunate to have such caring people who make him laugh and smile when they visit!”

 

Volunteers Share the Joys of Helping at Agrace IPUs

Volunteer Ann Dettwiler

Ann Dettwiler, inpatient unit volunteer

Whether they are helping patients eat, reading to them, listening to and talking with them, or are simply there as a calming presence, volunteers at our inpatient units (IPUs) in Madison and Janesville enrich lives. Here’s what three current volunteers say about what they do— and why it matters.

“I love having conversations with patients!” exclaims Ann Dettwiler. “Sometimes the conversations are deep, and they express their fears or concerns. But most of the time the conversations lead to happier moments in their lives. I believe my position is to take them away from their fears and concerns, if only momentarily. Sometimes we even laugh together.

Tom & Ann smiling

Volunteers Tom Kuehne & Ann Dettwiler

“Having empathy for the patient—and their family—is the biggest component to volunteering,” she adds. “Just turning their pillow so they have cool fabric on their neck and head assures them you are there to help.”

“The most fulfilling part is listening to patients—their stories, their needs,” agrees Tom Kuehne. “Volunteers should be prepared to ‘go’ to wherever the person may be. Don’t expect them to be in this moment or ‘on task.’ Listen to their stories and respond.”

Evanka Annyapu’s most memorable patient enjoyed spiritual conversations: “We talked about her beliefs about what came after death, and how we settle with the cards we’re dealt. She held my hand close to her heart and made eye contact to tell me that she was fully accepting that this was not the end for her, but the beginning. My experience with her reminds me why I’m grateful for my time spent at Agrace.”

 

Care for All Endowment Meets $15 Million Goal

$15 million goal gaugeFunds Will Provide Charitable Care for Patients in Need

 

Gifts from more than 1,800 donors over the past five years completed Agrace’s $15 million Care for All Endowment campaign in August. Now that the endowment goal has been achieved and funds invested, Agrace will be able to provide free or discounted care to patients in need—long into the future.

“Everyone has the right to die with dignity; it doesn’t matter what your circumstances. Agrace helps people, regardless of their position in life,” says G. Linn Roth, who chaired the campaign committee with his wife, Jean Martinelli.

While Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurance cover the cost of basic hospice services for most patients, an increasing number of people in southern Wisconsin do not have enough insurance coverage for hospice when they need it. Some patients who rely on Care for All assistance may need help temporarily while they apply for medical assistance or wait to move into a long-term care facility. Early this year, for example, Care for All paid for a patient to stay at our Johnson Residence in Madison briefly during the “polar vortex” when his house wouldn’t stay warm enough and he had no other place to go.

Since 2015, Agrace’s Care for All program has funded care for 322 patients. More than 120 of them were served in 2019 alone, signaling a growing need for this support.

“One of the best things offered to our patients and families through Care for All is the knowledge that everyone is equally deserving of the care we provide,” says Deirdre Youngs, a long-time Agrace nurse and case manager.

“People don’t need to feel like they’re somehow ‘less’ because they don’t have the money or coverage for Agrace’s care. The stress at end of life is hard enough to manage. With Care for All, we can relieve financial worry and stress for patients and families.”

 

Agrace Now Manages Home Medical Equipment for Hospice Patients

Gene Berg, medical equipment technician

Gene Berg, medical equipment technician

A walker, a wheelchair, a hospital bed, a shower chair. The durable medical equipment (DME) often needed for comfort and safety while a person is in hospice care is now provided by Agrace, instead of an outside company.

With a fleet of delivery vans and a caring crew of DME technicians, Agrace began to deliver home medical equipment to our new hospice patients August 1. In the following weeks we replaced equipment from our previous third party supplier for all other patients. Agrace DME has two equipment warehouses, in Waunakee and Milton, where we use state-of-the-art software and systems to ensure medical equipment is delivered to patients quickly and accurately.

“We know how important it is for our patients to be comfortable and safe at home throughout their hospice experience,” says Brian Tennant, Agrace’s chief information officer, who guided the launch and oversees our DME service. “We work with our patients and their families to help them feel confident using the equipment we provide.”

 

Agrace Thrift Home Store Opens in Madison

If you love to redecorate and find bargains on furniture and home décor, you won’t want to miss a new place to shop: the Agrace Thrift Home Store at 1946 S. Stoughton Road, Madison. Eager shoppers lined up October 19 to be the new store’s first supporters, and we doubled our projected grand opening sales! This new store is open Wednesdays through Saturday each week. See store hours here.

Proceeds from sales at the Agrace Thrift Home Store will help fund Agrace’s community grief support programs, including our Grief Support Center in Fitchburg. These services are funded almost entirely by donations, and are open to anyone in the local area who is grieving, even if the person who died did not have hospice care.

Have a furniture donation? Our Donation Transportation Service is here to help. If you have a larger household donation for the Agrace thrift stores, you can request a donation pick up online, or by calling (608) 640-0139.

Request a Donation Pick Up