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Live well with Hospice

Making the most of every day

Gundersen Health System brings high-quality care to the place where patients feel most comfortable: their home. If a parent or other loved one is dealing with a life-limiting illness and has decided to stop active treatment, our Hospice care team can help them make the most of every day they have left.

There is a time when our bodies let us know it is time to stop fighting, and we can honor our bodies by focusing on the quality of our lives. Many people struggle with this decision, as it can sometimes feel like giving up. At Gundersen, we don't look at it this way. Our focus is on inspiring hope by listening to what our patients want and offering choices, making every effort to let patients stay in control.

With symptoms and pain managed, Hospice allows patients to achieve their goals and live well—spending their time however is most important to them. This includes providing physical, emotional, spiritual and social support to patients, families and caregivers—all in the comfort of a patient's home.

Every week we hear from patients and families how they wish they would have known about Hospice sooner and are grateful for the care and support they received once they enrolled their loved one. Here are just a few patient stories that highlight the value of having our caring team alongside you and your family during this time.

'One thing I still want:' Fulfilling Virginia's wish

Virginia was admitted to outpatient Hospice after it became apparent her lung cancer was not responding to chemotherapy. Amanda, her Hospice nurse, asked Virginia what she valued most in light of the disease progression.

"One goal I still have is to tour the Spam Museum in Austin, Minn." Virginia said.

Over the next week, Hospice worked to help Virginia get her pain under better control and relieve some of her shortness of breath. Still, it was clear Virginia was too weak to travel to the museum.

Not ready to give up, Amanda called the Spam Museum and talked to the manager. After learning about Virginia, the manager was inspired to bring highlights from some of the exhibits to La Crosse to fulfill Virginia's wish. This is a memory Virginia's family will cherish in the difficult years after her death.

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Man's best friend: John & Pepper

John was back in the hospital for the fourth time in six months. Even with the mindful use of medications, his heart and kidneys continued to struggle. His shortness of breath was becoming more and more of a problem.

Amid his failing health, he had one request: "What I really want is to spend as much time as possible with my dog, Pepper," he told hospital staff. It was the weekend, but Hospice got creative and was able to bring him home. Shortly after, his family sent a picture of him laying comfortably in bed—with Pepper sleeping in his arms.

Hospice also is available in nursing homes, community-based residential facilities and assisted-living facility settings.

Contact Hospice to learn more about how Gundersen is inspiring hope by helping people across the Tri-State Region live well and make the most of every single day, surrounded by a lifetime of the things they love.

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