During heartbreak, Hospice lifts families
Roz Schnick's life turned upside down in 2011 when she learned her husband, Ron, had just months to live.
"He was my soulmate," Roz says. "It was 'Roz and Ron'—we were joined at the hip."
After complications related to Ron's diagnosis of cerebral amyloid angiopathy, a rare form of dementia, the Schnicks decided to pursue Hospice at Gundersen Health System to respect Ron's wish to stay out of the hospital.
With a focus on making the most of the time patients have left, Hospice brings compassionate care into the place where people feel most secure and comfortable: their home. Hospice providers listen to their patients and offer choices, making every effort to help patients stay in control. Depending on goals for care and treatment, services may include:
- Care planning and management
- Symptom and pain management
- Skin care and dressing changes
- Assistance with personal care
- Medical equipment needs, such as walkers, wheelchairs, commodes and hospital beds
- Medication management
- Physical, occupational and speech therapy consultation
- Nutrition information
- Advance care and end-of-life planning
- Assistance with coping and grief
- Short-term counseling
Gundersen Hospice is state licensed and Medicare/ Medicaid certified in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. Hospice is available in all or part of the following counties:
- La Crosse
- Black Hawk
In addition to comprehensive care for patients, Hospice also provides physical, emotional, spiritual and social support to families— services that Roz made part of her life after Ron's death March 31, 2012.
"I like to say Hospice lifts you up, like on eagles' wings," Roz says. "Hospice caregivers hold you— your heart and everything—in the palms of their hands. Without that support, I'm not sure if I'd be where I am today."
That place is one of profound gratitude: for the compassionate care Ron received during his final months; the support Roz and her family benefitted from during the most difficult time in their lives; and, above all, the love she shared with Ron during more than four decades of marriage.
"I don't know if I'd be here—in this gratitude— without hospice," Roz says.
With the help of 13 months of grief counseling, an optional service provided to family members as part of Hospice care, Roz was able to emerge from the heartbreak of Ron's death with newfound perspective: "I had a marriage and a relationship with this incredible human being who was so supportive. He was there for my personal growth, and I was there for his. I am grateful I had him for 43 years. There are people in this life who don't even have one minute or one hour of what I had."
To learn more about Hospice at Gundersen, including how to enroll yourself or a loved one, call (608) 775-8435.
Giving pays it forward
Roz and Ron Schnick were able to spend Ron's final months together at home, thanks to the care and support from Gundersen Hospice.
Roz now pays it forward with gifts to the Gundersen Medical Foundation Hospice Fund. "Hospice was integral to honoring my husband's wish to die at home and coping with my grief afterward. I want those services available for anyone who needs them," Roz says.
Whatever your motivation, there's a way for you to pay it forward with a Gundersen Medical Foundation gift. Express gratitude with your donation at gundersenhealth.org/generosity.