Text Size



Reset Text

Questions? We're here for you.

(800) 553-4289


Managing Pain at 98: How Betty Stayed Home with Supportive Care

Agrace Supportive Care Nurse Practitioner NP

Kelly Planton, NP

At 98, Betty* had lived in her home for 63 years—and she wanted to stay. It was where she raised her children and where her husband died. Her goal was to stay there until the end of her life, as well. This is how Agrace Supportive Care helped her do it.

Betty had struggled with pain in her back for 30 years. As it increased, Betty’s daughter, Marlene,* had to help her more and more. Betty did not want to go to the hospital, and it was hard to go to the clinic. She had tried several remedies for pain but did not tolerate them well. Marlene had heard about Agrace Supportive Care and got her mom a referral.

Agrace Supportive Care provides in-home palliative care visits to people who are living with serious or chronic illnesses, but are not in hospice care. We help people get better relief from their physical symptoms and stress—while they continue treatment for their illness.

Supportive Care Patient VisitKelly Planton, an Agrace nurse practitioner, started Betty’s care by visiting her at home. “I looked at what caused the pain, but also how she moved in her environment,” Kelly notes.

Unlike a clinic visit, this home consultation let Kelly see how Betty’s surroundings affected her pain. Kelly also reviewed Betty’s medications and talked with her and Marlene about other medications to try. Kelly says, “We talked about the risks and benefits of each option. Then we connected with Betty’s primary care doctor, and everyone agreed she would try a new medication for her pain.”

A month after Betty’s consultation visit, Kelly visited her at home again. “Her pain had improved significantly with the new medication. She was better able to move around her house and was sleeping better—and she was not having side effects,” Kelly says.

Decisions Based on Your Goals

Fast forward 18 months. Betty, now 99, was still living at home with support from Marlene. An increase in her pain brought Kelly back to visit. A medication change helped, and Kelly continued to visit every few months, coordinating with Betty’s other health care providers. Betty was very clear that she did not want to go to the hospital or clinic, if possible.

Agrace Supportive Care continued to help Betty, including managing her symptoms at home after a hospitalization for pneumonia. Kelly remembers, “She told us that if the pneumonia returned, she did not want aggressive measures or new treatments, even if that meant she would be nearing the end of her life.”

Marlene was part of these discussions and supported her mother’s goals. Together with Kelly, they made a plan for what would happen if Betty’s pain worsened or her shortness of breath returned.

Eventually, as Betty’s health declined further, she chose to transition from Supportive Care to hospice for end-of-life care. She was in hospice care for two months and died peacefully in her home, as she had wanted.

Do you know someone who could use more support as they cope with a serious illness? Call (800) 930-2770 or click below to learn more.

Learn More About Supportive Care

What do you value about Agrace?

Lynne Sexten photo

Lynne Sexten, President &. CEO

What makes people passionate about Agrace? It’s often the way they were treated when we served their loved one, friend or neighbor. Something happened that grew into trust, respect, admiration.

Every few years, we create a new forward-looking strategic plan. At the same time, we review our mission, vision and values, to make sure they continue to fit our growing organization. These statements must describe our purpose and our people now and also guide our future business decisions, including hiring. Agrace is only as good as our people—and we need to choose staff who will be worthy of trust, respect and admiration.

Recently, with the approval of our Board of Directors, we made some updates to our mission, vision and values that I’d like to share with you.

Our mission is what we do: Providing personalized care and support, where and when you need it, for life’s changing health needs.

Our vision tells where we want to go: Building a future where every person experiences extraordinary care and guidance while aging or seriously ill.

Our values must be shared by every person at Agrace. We believe these three values set us apart from many other organizations:

Group of three people Belonging—We respect and honor everyone’s worth, building communities where people can be their true selves.
Lightbulb Resourcefulness—We are an agile organization full of creative problem solvers.
Hands holding heart Heart—We bring authentic care and connection to those we serve.

I hope your past and future experiences with Agrace mirror our mission and these values. I also have a favor to ask: If you know job seekers who fit these values, please tell them Agrace may have a place for them. We have opportunities here in a variety of roles, not only patient care. These openings are listed on our Careers web page. We are very interested in hiring the best people across southern Wisconsin—who will continue to fulfill our mission.


Mourning Siblings: A Part of Us, a Unique Loss

photo of siblings

Tip: Share sibling memories

When a brother or sister dies, grief can hit us differently than when other relatives die. Siblings feel like part of us—they’re often similar in age and have shared memories. They may have insight into our family that no one else knows. When they die, those lost connections add a layer to our grief.

Yet the focus after a death is often on other survivors: parents, spouse/partner or children. Siblings can feel forgotten and their grief unacknowledged. When you are supporting someone after the death of a sibling, remember these tips:

  1. Whatever emotions they are feeling are normal and valid; sadness, anxiety, loneliness, relief, anger—it’s all valid.
  2. Check in, ask about their sibling and share memories; use the sibling’s name.
  3. Offer to bring a meal, walk their dog or pick up some groceries.
  4. Family relationships may change, and get-togethers will feel different. You can show your support by asking about, and acknowledging, these changes.

Upcoming Grief Support Opportunities

Grief Support GroupAgrace’s grief support groups are open to everyone, including families who did not have hospice care.

Our (Virtual) Bridges Grief Support Group meets online every other Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. It’s for adults who are grieving the death of any person.

Agrace’s grief counselors also offer individual (1:1) grief support by appointment. You can participate in person, by phone or via video call on a mobile device or computer.

If your loved one had hospice care in the past 12 months, there is no fee for grief support. Fees for others can be lowered or waived, if necessary.

Learn More or Register

Agrace Starts New Resource to Care for People with Heart Failure

Heart disease touches nearly every family in America. Breathing trouble, fatigue and other symptoms of end-stage heart disease lead to frequent visits to the doctor’s office, emergency room and hospital. More Americans die from heart disease each year than any other condition, including cancer.

To offer more support for patients with advanced heart disease, Agrace has collaborated with the American Heart Association on an Advanced Cardiac Care Program. Agrace Hospice Care is one of the first hospices in the country to join this effort.

As part of the program, our clinical staff receive specialized training on how to manage the symptoms of advanced heart disease and keep our patients comfortable—wherever they receive care. With Agrace, patients who have heart disease can continue treatments that control their symptoms and improve their quality of life.

The Advanced Cardiac Care Program’s care guide can help prevent the repeat hospital and emergency room visits that are a huge source of stress for patients and families.

Download Our Free Cardiac Care Guide

Hospice Volunteers Needed in and near Waukesha County

Agrace Service Area 2021-22

Agrace recently opened new staff offices in Dodgeville and Oconomowoc to better serve patients in the southwestern and southeastern parts of our service area.

As we prepare to offer hospice and supportive care in Waukesha County in 2022, we are recruiting volunteers to support our future patients. Please think about your friends or family who live in or near Waukesha, Pewaukee, Menomonee Falls, New Berlin or Oconomowoc. If you think they would be a great Agrace volunteer, have them contact us!

Volunteers would visit hospice patients in their own homes or in local long-term care facilities to make the lives of patients and their families a little easier during a difficult time. Volunteer roles include respite breaks for family caregivers and many other types of companionship, such as reading to a patient, making a snack, running an errand or just being with them as a caring presence.

Schedules are flexible and free training is provided. No previous health care experience is necessary.

Learn More


Light Up A Life Like Lora’s

photo of LoraIf you knew your life would be short, how would you pack in as much living as possible? How would you leave a legacy? With help from Agrace, Lora Schansberg found a way.

Diagnosed at 17 as having a rare form of blood cancer, Lora fought her illness ferociously for the next 12 years. But when her treatment options ran out, Lora and her family turned to Agrace Hospice Care for the courage to face a new challenge—living the end of her life with dignity. Read more of Lora’s story and make a gift to help others like Lora create their own legacies.

Make a Donation

Join Us March 5 at the 20th Anniversary of Sips & Sounds

Agrace Sips & Sounds badgeAgrace Sips & Sounds - hopsAgrace’s Sips & Sounds hits the big 2-0 soon. Please save March 5 to join us at the Celtic House at Glen Erin Golf Club in Janesville. It’s a delicious night of wine and beer sampling, delectable treats, live music, an auction and more! You can sip, sample and support quality care at this benefit for Agrace.

Learn More or Register


Did your family have Agrace’s care?

Here’s an opportunity for you to help Agrace Hospice Care continue to improve our services. Our Patient and Family Partnership Council is recruiting people who:

  • experienced our support while a family member or friend was a patient,
  • feel comfortable sharing thoughts and ideas in a small group setting,
  • want to help Agrace improve our services,
  • want to affect how end-of-life care is designed and delivered, and
  • can meet with the Council (either in person or via Zoom) once a month.

To learn more, email Dawn Ferengo or call her at (608) 276-4660.


2021 Agrace Events Raised Nearly $440,000

Thank you for the tremendous outpouring of support this year through Agrace’s events. Nearly $440,000 was raised to support programs that serve our patients and clients who are aging, seriously ill or grieving.

Agrace Sips & Sounds,
Janesville (virtual)
A Round with AgraceA Round with Agrace,
Baraboo/Wisconsin Dells

Agrace Golf Open,

BANDing Together for AgraceNew! BANDing Together
for Agrace, Dodgeville

Race for AgraceRace for Agrace,
Madison (and virtual)

Grateful for AgraceGrateful for Agrace,
(a virtual holiday gift auction)