“Neil loved her and was overwhelmed by her thoughtfulness. He held that rock for a long time and cried when he told others about this loving young woman who found a way to make visiting 50 states a special kind of reality.”Show More
Words Of Appreciation
Our agency frequently receives recognition for the care we have provided to a patient or someone’s loved one. Many tell us they don't have the words to describe their appreciation and simply say "Thanks." Below are comments and letters from patients and family members sharing their gratitude.
Hospice Team Member Helps Patient's Dream Become Reality
Nurses are special people. For most of us, it’s hard to imagine the passion and conviction it requires to selflessly care for others in some of their deepest times of need. Jennifer (Jb) Kotlowski is no stranger to tribulation. As a care transition nurse for Heartland Hospice serving Central Wisconsin, Jb educates providers, patients and families about hospice care and how to maximize the hospice benefit.
Many times, friendships can form between the hospice care team and patients and families, or sometimes, friendships exist before the care team and patient relationship. Jb and the Neil Laube family share a most meaningful Christmas memory. “I met Neil Laube and his wife Mary Jo through church,” Jb shared. “I initially didn’t know them well, but they made it a point to talk with me every Sunday and would often dote on my children. Mary Jo and Neil Laube exude kindness and I felt like they invited my family in without using any words,” she said. “They’re very generous people.”
According to all who knew him, Neil loved nature, travel and especially his family. His children note that they counted on his unwavering support and encouragement. “Dad always showed up for us kids, our partners, his grandkids, 4-H members, neighbors and friends,” one daughter shared. Another daughter admired him for his calming and comforting presence--at the ready with words, looks and hugs.
One endearing thing everyone knew about Neil was that he didn’t just look like Santa Claus, he was thoroughly enchanted by all things Christmas. “He loved it all: Christmas Eve services, hymns, carols, classic Christmas songs, movies, food, going for drives to see the decorations, browsing in stores that had creative and artistic offerings, family,” said Mary Jo. “He never quit believing in the spirit of Santa,” she said.
Before Neil fell ill and became a patient served by Heartland Hospice, he and Mary Jo enjoyed exploring the United States together. Mary Jo said they specifically appreciated looking at flora and fauna, visiting historical places, discovering new things, trying new foods and meeting new people. “Visiting, or at least touching, all 50 states became a goal,” she said. Because he was a man who gave so much of himself, Jb felt compelled to return the kindness Neil had shown her and so many others. She subsequently devised a plan to fulfill the smiley-faced Santa’s goal.
“It was a surprise,” she said. “I didn’t tell Mary Jo what I had planned.” Jb believes Mary Jo and Neil had accepted visiting 49 of 50 U.S. states as an excellent accomplishment, and sufficient. But it wasn’t sufficient for her, so she got to work helping them visit the only state they’d missed, Rhode Island. “I reached out to the Rhode Island State Park Service who happily helped me put my plan in motion,” she said. “They sent me a pinecone, rocks, patches and even a pin from one of their parks.”
During the Christmas season, just days before Neil’s passing, Jb asked Mary Jo if she could come by for a visit. Despite having a houseful of his beloved family, Mary Jo welcomed her. “Neil was the best conversationalist!” Jb exclaimed. “He and I had widely different opinions about many things, but the conversation was always impeccable.” But this time Jb didn’t know what to say, nor how to present her gift. “I handed him a rock and stumbled through an explanation about how it was a magic rock. He agreed. He saw the magic in everything,” she said. “We were holding hands and I told him it was special, just like he is.” Eventually, Jb told Neil the rock he was holding was from Rhode Island, and now he’d officially touched a part of all 50 states. “My eyes were welling up before I finished speaking. Neil cried too,” she said. Jb witnessed as Neil very lovingly touched all the items that had come from Rhode Island with a look of awe, gratitude and maybe even relief. “It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life,” she said.
Mary Jo thinks of Jb as a gem. “Neil loved her and was overwhelmed by her thoughtfulness,” she said. “He held that rock for a long time and cried when he told others about this loving young woman who found a way to make visiting 50 states a special kind of reality.”
Tracy Rosinski, Regional Veteran Liaison for ProMedica Hospice and Heartland Home Health & Hospice agencies in Wisconsin and Northern Illinois, tells her story about a conversation she had with a veteran that helped her realize it is important to have specific intention behind each "thank you".Show More
Each Individual Veteran's Story Matters
Tracy Rosinski, Regional Veteran Liaison for ProMedica Hospice and Heartland Home Health & Hospice agencies in Wisconsin and Northern Illinois, tells her story about a conversation she had with a veteran that helped her realize it is important to have specific intention behind each "thank you".
“As a civilian whenever I would meet a man or woman who served our country in the military, I would say, 'thank you for your service'. My words were well-intentioned and came from a sincere place.
This was until I met Jim. Jim was introduced to me as a Marine who served in the Korean War; more specifically, the Chosin Reservoir. I instinctively thanked Jim for his service.
I was not familiar with this battle, the Chosin Reservoir. I did not remember learning about it in high school so long ago and I had never met someone who spoke about it. That night I looked up the Chosin Reservoir. I was in tears. My tears were not because of the insane conditions these men were fighting in—and against. My tears came from a place of embarrassment. I thanked Jim without knowing the true service and sacrifice he gave our country. At this point, my thank you felt empty. I had met someone who fought in one of the most savage battles in Marine Corp history. The next day, I was with Jim again and told him about my research the night before. I offered him an apology for my ignorance when I thanked him the day prior. I asked Jim if I could thank him appropriately. I explained that I had no idea of the battle he served in and thanked him for teaching me a very important lesson that I would remember when thanking Veterans in the future. We embraced and from that day began to develop a strong friendship.
When Jim and I would meet, I learned a little more about him as a person, as a father, as a husband. I became friends with someone who served as a frontline machine gunner and a squad leader in 5 major battles, including the battle of the Chosin Reservoir. I learned that Jim was a recipient of several military decorations including the Purple Heart Medal for injuries he received on the battlefield. I learned about Jim’s story.
Those who served in the military have his or her own story surrounding time in service and individual sacrifices were made. Not all stories are the same and not every person has the same experience. The story matters and the individual Veteran matters.
My lesson: Give intention to my thank you. Before I thank an individual Veteran for his or her service, I ask questions so that I may offer an informed thank you. Some questions I ask: What branch did you serve? When did you serve? How long did you serve? What was your job while serving?
Nowadays, I am not thanking a Veteran…I am thanking a 'Jim' who enlisted at age 17 and served four years (1948-1952) in the Marine Corp as a machine gunner in the battle of the Chosin Reservoir in the Korean War.”
“While some of our facilities are allowing visitors, many are not. Planting flowers is a way to spread cheer to residents, families and healthcare employees at some of the facilities we work closely with."Show More
Hospice Team Works with Area Garden Centers to Beautify Local Healthcare Facilities
In the spirit of Earth Day, the Heartland Hospice Serving Central Wisconsin Wellness Committee decided to team up with local garden centers to beautify the grounds of some area healthcare facilities. Although Wisconsin flower planting season didn’t coincide well with Earth Day 2021, the committee members didn’t allow that to dampen their plans. “We simply delayed our planting until the timing was right for the flowers to flourish,” said Sarah Darr, Heartland Hospice bereavement coordinator.
The Wellness Committee is a peer-led employee committee aimed at creating a healthy work culture. “Our committee takes a holistic approach to wellness by focusing on the physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and financial needs of employees,” said Sarah. “We seek to provide enriching activities for employees to join.”
Amanda Cottrell, Heartland Hospice volunteer coordinator, said the planting project was a great way to involve the hospice team and interested hospice volunteers in spreading joy to some of the communities Heartland serves. “While some of our facilities are allowing visitors, many are not. Planting flowers is a way to honor Earth Day and spread cheer to residents, families and healthcare employees at some of the facilities we work closely with,” said Amanda.
The Heartland Hospice team and volunteers planted flowers at five separate healthcare facilities. “We’re so grateful for the generosity of Mill Creek Gardens and the thoughtfulness of Heartland Hospice to put this together,” said Tanya Kundinger, Director at Aster Retirement Community. “We sure are enjoying the beautiful flower planters,” she said.
Heartland and the healthcare facilities wish to express sincere thanks to the Central Wisconsin greenhouses and garden centers that generously donated the flowers and plants: Twin Creeks Nursery & Greenhouses, Mill Creek Garden Center, Reeves Greenhouse, Weaver’s Greenhouse and Village Gardens. “We believe flowers make people happy and that it’s important to be good to people,” said Danielle Winer, owner of Mill Creek Garden Center of Marshfield. “Those goals perfectly aligned with Heartland’s goals for this project. Thank you for letting us take part!”
COVID-19 restrictions derailed Chris’s volunteer service plans for many months since many hospice patients could not receive visitors. Instead, Chris took on a significant project – making a directory of all Wisconsin war memorials to share with Heartland Hospice employees, patients and families.Show More
Hospice Volunteer with a Passion for Veterans Makes Unique Use of Pandemic Volunteer Time
Chris Porter’s passion for veterans is remarkable and it’s been a life-long adventure. “I signed up for the Army when I was 17 and left for Basic Training in Fort Knox, Kentucky in the summer of 1999,” he said. Chris spent more than 4 years on active duty in the Army's 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Georgia.
According to Amanda Cottrell, Heartland Hospice serving Central Wisconsin volunteer coordinator, Chris reached out last October after seeing Heartland’s Veteran-to-Veteran volunteer opportunity listed on the Marshfield United Way website. “Chris was very interested in wanting to make a difference in veterans’ lives, especially during the pandemic, and said he would commit to our volunteer program,” Amanda said. “He is very open to talking about his military experience and we could see he would be a great match with our Marshfield area veteran patients,” she said.
COVID-19 restrictions derailed Chris’s volunteer service plans for many months since many hospice patients could not receive visitors. “We wanted to utilize his skills in a new way while we waited for restrictions to be lifted,” Amanda said. In addition to spending time helping with yard work for one of Heartland’s hospice patients, Chris took on a significant project – making a directory of all Wisconsin war memorials to share with Heartland employees, patients and families. “I enjoy knowing it may help more people visit them. At the very least, it helps bring to light that they exist!”
Through his work on the project, Chris was surprised at just how many war memorials Wisconsin has. “They are everywhere!” he said. “The memorials are found in cemeteries, town halls, highways, parks, American Legion halls, airports, courthouses and street intersections.” “One of my favorite memorials to visit is the High Ground in Neillsville.” Chris said he has a personal connection to High Ground because he used to visit there with his grandparents and now enjoys the memorial with his children. “The statues, tributes and effigy mound are so beautiful, and there is something magical there,” he said. Chris wants the community to know that the High Ground is constantly working to help bring awareness to veterans and are always adding new projects to the site. “The little store there has a museum. I always love taking my kids in there.”
Together with their prevalence throughout Wisconsin, Chris wants people to realize what impactful history lessons the memorials can offer. “I want people to take a minute to read the plaques at the memorials. There is so much history regarding the brave men and women who oftentimes gave their lives fighting for our country.”
With the Wisconsin Veterans Memorial directory project now complete, Chris is excited about getting back to volunteer visits with hospice patients. “Now that volunteer restrictions are lifting in people’s homes and in facilities, Chris will start visiting with veterans who are lonely and wanting someone to visit with,” said Amanda. “Veteran-to-veteran visits can often spark powerful conversations and lead to great emotional and spiritual healing.”
“I really enjoy visiting with veterans the most, but I also get to visit some people who have had amazing lives,” Chris said. He shared that the stories they tell are one of the things he likes most about being a volunteer for Heartland. “It also makes me happy to know that they have something to look forward to and enjoy having company.”
To obtain a copy of the Wisconsin War Memorial directory compiled by Chris, please contact Amanda Cottrell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Heartland Hospice serving Central Wisconsin and the Montgomery-Plant-Dudley American Legion Auxiliary Unit 10 of Wausau teamed up to donate fleece blankets to veterans receiving hospice care.Show More
Hospice Team Member Volunteers Time to Deliver Blankets to Veteran Hospice Patients
Heartland Hospice serving Central Wisconsin and the Montgomery-Plant-Dudley American Legion Auxiliary Unit 10 of Wausau teamed up to donate fleece blankets to veterans receiving hospice care. “I had the opportunity to connect with the American Legion Post 10 and Auxiliary because they heard about our need for blankets,” said Heartland volunteer coordinator, Amanda Cottrell. “I was pleased to attend one of their meetings and share more about what we do at Heartland Hospice and why we were asking for a donation like this from the community."
Caring for veterans on hospice requires special considerations. “Our team is trained to learn about the unique needs of veterans based on their wishes, their military experiences, and their sacrifices,” said Amanda. "Currently, 30% of our patients are veterans."
“It’s always a wonderful experience to see patients’ reactions when they receive a gift, like a blanket, that was made especially for them,” Amanda said. “We are always looking for patriotic-themed blankets for our veterans as a thank you for their service. It’s a special way to welcome them when they are admitted to our service,” she said.
The blankets made and donated by the Montgomery-Plant-Dudley American Legion Auxiliary Unit 10 of Wausau will be delivered to our veteran patients by several of the care team members. “Our patients light up and smile when they receive a blanket,” shared Amanda. “Some are at a loss for words and are very humbly surprised the blanket is for them.”
If you’re interested in donating blankets, contact Amanda Cottrell, volunteer coordinator, at 715.344.4541.
Heartland Hospice serving Central Wisconsin worked with their local American Legion and VFW Posts, as well as the ProMedica Hospice Memorial Fund, to help their veteran hospice patient, Ervin, receive the support he needed to stay at home.Show More
ProMedica Hospice Memorial Fund, Hospice Team and Veteran Community Help Patient in Need
Heartland Hospice serving Central Wisconsin worked with their local American Legion and VFW Posts to help their veteran hospice patient, Ervin, receive the support he needed to stay at home. Ann Roquet, Heartland Hospice social worker, was having a conversation with Ervin about his life history and learned that he was a cook and baker for the Navy during the Korean War. He later shared with her how grateful he was to be able to stay home but did not have running water in his kitchen.
Ann was heartbroken when she heard of Ervin’s plumbing issues and jumped into action. She contacted Chain O’Lakes Plumbing and they were more than happy to help a local veteran and made sure to give the best possible discount on their services. Ann knew that Ervin couldn’t afford to have this done, so she reached out to the ProMedica Hospice Memorial Fund, formally Heartland Hospice Memorial Fund, and received $1500 towards the plumbing cost. She was grateful for the amount given, but still needed more to help him out financially.
After receiving a tip from a relative, Ann reached out to the local American Legion and got in touch with Bud Gende, Commander of American Legion Post #366 (Princeton). Mr. Gende agreed that Ervin was deserving of more than just running water in his kitchen. He contacted VFW Post #2925 (Berlin), American Legion Post #43 (Ripon), American Legion Post #317 (Wautoma), American Legion Post #282 (Markesan), American Legion Post #395 (Kingston), American Legion Post #351 (Montello), VFW Post #10542 (Princeton) and American Legion Post #340 (Berlin) to see how they could help their fellow veteran. Not only did each post donate generously to cover the rest of the cost for his plumbing needs, but their donations exceeded the amount needed by $1300, which will help to cover additional living expenses and improvements to his home.
The area Posts held a meeting that Ann attended to receive the checks on Ervin’s behalf and during the meeting Commander Gende unveiled a new cooperative program called: Veterans Assisting Veterans. The group agreed to continue their collaboration in order to support other area veterans who may also be struggling. “It’s not hard to see that as a group, we can make a big difference,” said Commander Gende.
“I cried so many times in gratitude for what these local veterans and the ProMedica Hospice Memorial Fund have done to help Ervin,” said Ann. “It’s truly amazing that the local veterans have given so much during their service time, and they continue to give today. When I informed Ervin about this wonderful gift, his first words were, ‘please thank those veterans for their service’.”
More than 100 people showed up for the car parade to celebrate the 100th birthday of Heartland Hospice patient, Francis (Fran) Joseph Neis. “I’m overjoyed and I can’t believe there was a parade to celebrate my birthday,” said Fran.Show More
Hospice Team Helps Patient Celebrate 100th Birthday
More than 100 people showed up for the car parade to celebrate the 100th birthday of Heartland Hospice patient, Francis (Fran) Joseph Neis. “I’m overjoyed and I can’t believe there was a parade to celebrate my birthday,” said Fran.
Born in Gilman, Wisconsin in 1920, Fran’s 100 years have taken him on quite a journey. He graduated Marquette University in 1942, having studied pre-law. But his plans quickly changed when WWII broke out, prompting his enlistment in the Marine Corps. “My father served in WWI in the medical division,” said Fran. “The country was at war and I knew I’d be drafted,” he said.
Upon his arrival home from war, Fran made his home in Thorp, Wisconsin and began work at Thorp Finance. “I did everything from starting out behind the counter and eventually moving up to management,” he said. “I had my own office for a number of years. I worked for a little company that became a big company.” Fran worked for Thorp Finance in several Wisconsin office locations for more than 20 years. “I met my wife there!” he said.
Fran and his wife, Jeroma, married in 1947. Together they had three children and enjoyed traveling, especially during retirement. “Before we retired, we usually visited our parents or just went to the cottage where we enjoyed fishing and swimming,” said Fran. “But once we retired, we visited all the major U.S. cities. We also traveled to Europe, visiting Spain, Germany, Italy, France, England and Portugal. We even went to South America!” he exclaimed.
Fran, along with his daughter, Cathy, went on a Never Forgotten Honor Flight in 2011. “It was a thrill being with all of the veterans. There were vets from all branches of the military, and we loved comparing notes,” he said. Fran is a member of the Marshfield Legion and is in the 4th degree for the Marshfield Knights of Columbus.
Jeroma Neis passed in 2007 and Fran sold their home shortly after and moved to Aster Assisted Living of Marshfield, where he currently resides. “Fran’s dedication to our country and his family are so commendable,” commented Tanya Kundinger, executive director at Aster Assisted Living. “He is a thoughtful, thankful and friendly man. It’s been a privilege getting to know him and have him as an addition to our Aster family.”
"It's great to hear Fran tell stories about his past experiences,” said Heartland RN case manager Melissa Baranowski. “He has seen so many changes in the past 100 years but manages to keep up-to-date on technology and can use a computer better than I can!”
Pet therapy is one of the additional services many of our hospice agencies offer. Interacting with a friendly pet can help with any possible physical and mental issues. Pet interaction also helps produce a calming feeling, which can alleviate pain and reduce stress.Show More
Pet Therapy: Bringing Happiness, Comfort and Smiles to Hospice Patients
Pet therapy is one of the additional services many of our hospice agencies offer. Interacting with a friendly pet can help with any possible physical and mental issues. Pet interaction also helps produce a calming feeling, which can alleviate pain and reduce stress. Heartland Hospice serving Central Wisconsin has been utilizing pet volunteers since October 2012 when the agency first began caring for hospice patients.
Pet therapy can be especially helpful in a hospice patient’s care journey because pet visitors help patients recall memories of their own pets or other animals they love. Pet visits help brighten patients’ days, bring smiles to their faces and bring a sense of comfort and love when patients have the opportunity to pet and interact with the animal(s).
Our pet therapy volunteers truly enjoy visiting with patients and find it rewarding to be able to hear touching stories about patients’ pets. Kim, a pet therapy volunteer, began volunteering with her dog, Joy, after she lost her mom. “I felt like I needed to fill my time doing something positive. The smiles and the hugs my patients give to Joy help brighten my day, too. I feel like I was able to have such a positive impact on their care simply by spending time with them.”
Shelly, another pet therapy volunteer, immediately knew her dog, Darla, would be a great fit for a pet therapy dog when she adopted her at six months old. “Her calm and gentle nature was a perfect match. My first experience with Heartland was when an immediate family member needed hospice care. Right then, I knew I wanted to become involved with Heartland. I have always been involved with our local humane society, so I put my love for animals and my compassion for people together and joined the pet therapy team.” Shelly and Darla do even more volunteer work by visiting schools to read with children and by visiting skilled and assisted living facilities to help residents with projects and other activities. “What has been most meaningful to me is just seeing how happy people are when they get to see Darla. They receive her unconditional love and attention. They could be having a bad day or feeling lonely, but when they see her come through the door, their day is made!”
Because pet therapy has become an important part of many patients’ lives, patients still get to spend 15-20 minutes interacting with the animals and the volunteers during these difficult times. To ensure patients can continue their pet therapy visits, volunteers and their pets have been visiting with patients virtually or outside their windows.
For more information on pet therapy or our hospice services, please contact our agency.
Heartland Hospice patient, Gretchen, thanks her care team for the wonderful care they provide each and every day.Show More
Heartland Hospice Patient Thanks Team for Wonderful Care
Every day, Heartland Hospice receives thanks for the care they have provided to a patient or someone’s loved one. Many say they don’t have the words to describe their appreciation and simply say “Thanks.” Heartland Hospice Serving Central Wisconsin recently received a wonderful thank you letter from hospice patient, Gretchen:
“The care from Heartland Hospice is comfort to my soul. Heartland was recommended by the manager of Living Oaks Assisted Living in Iola. I have severe COPD, 79 years ‘young’ and love all of you. I am looking forward to each and every visit; they all give me joy. Jenny and Cathy keep me ‘straight’ in their guidance with my prescriptions. And Jeanine, Kayla, Keri, JT and all the coordinators… Thank You! I am so grateful. I lost my husband, Gene, to renal cancer 25 years ago and we had hospice then. Heartland is the BEST!”
Laura Galloy, Nurse Practitioner for Heartland Hospice Serving Central Wisconsin, was recently asked by another team member why she decided to become a nurse and her journey to becoming a Nurse Practitioner. During Nurses Week, Laura graciously shared her journey with her hospice team members.Show More
Heartland Nurse Practitioner Tells Why She Became a Nurse and How She Chose Hospice
Laura Galloy, Nurse Practitioner for Heartland Hospice Serving Central Wisconsin, was recently asked by another team member why she decided to become a nurse and her journey to becoming a Nurse Practitioner. During Nurses Week, Laura graciously shared her journey with her hospice team members:
“I always knew I wanted to be a nurse. However, I initially thought I would work as an OB Nurse until I did that rotation; that made me think I for sure wanted to work in pediatrics instead. However, when I had my first pediatric patient pass away, that is when I discovered hospice.
I graduated with my Associate Degree in Nursing in 1998 and at that time there were few nursing jobs. I worked at a skilled nursing facility (SNF) in Green Bay for two years. After those couple of years, I discovered travel nursing and started a several year stint in the Pacific Northwest, Berkley, Virgin Islands and then back to Seattle. My favorite job as a traveler was for an inpatient rehab unit at the University Hospital in Seattle. I loved working with a team; we had a physician on the floor, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech. I really loved seeing patients improve.
I eventually settled in the Seattle area and took a permanent position in a Pediatric ICU (PICU). However, as much as I thought I was destined for this line of work, something was still telling me to explore other areas in healthcare. While I was in Seattle, I went back to school for my bachelor’s degree and graduated in 2006. Shortly after graduation, I moved back home to Wisconsin because I wanted to be closer to family and friends again. I initially took a job with the PICU in Marshfield but was not looking forward to the commute. A friend of mine was working in hospice care and told me how great the job was and how much I would love that type of care.
In 2006 I stepped into a hospice RN Case Manager role and never looked back. I then had the itch to go back to school for my master’s degree. My husband and I were trying to start a family and thought the distraction of school would be good for me… and that it was! I delivered infant twins in the thick of clinicals, but the reward was worth those sacrifices.
Hospice is hard. It is more than helping people die with comfort, dignity and grace. It is understanding the dying process for an unlimited number of diseases, it is cobbling things together in the most unpredictable environments, it’s helping build the confidence of family members so they see they can do this and attain the one goal their loved one has of dying comfortably at home.
I love hospice because it is not just me walking into a home; it is me walking into the home with a team of professionals behind me that allows us to address any distressing symptom the patient or family may have, whether that be spiritual distress, financial stress, compounded grief, caregiver burnout, uncertainty of what is coming or even poor understanding of prognosis. Together we help the family and patient prepare for what is coming and do our best to get them where they need to be to have the most positive experience possible.
It is such a gift to work with each one of my hospice team members and see them put their hearts and souls into the care of our patients. THAT is why I became a nurse and THAT is why I love hospice.”
Heartland Hospice Serving Central Wisconsin's Team Physician, Dr. Daniel R. Kraeger, DO, talks about how the hospice team is supporting patients and their families during this difficult time.Show More
Heartland Hospice Serving Central Wisconsin Team Physician Discusses Care During Novel Coronavirus
Heartland Hospice Serving Central Wisconsin's Team Physician, Dr. Daniel R. Kraeger, DO, talks about how the hospice team is supporting patients and their families during this difficult time.
To contact Heartland Hospice Serving Central Wisconsin, please call 866-216-5708.
Heartland Hospice serving Central Wisconsin recently received several testimonials from family members of patients citing the compassionate care their loved ones received.Show More
Heartland Hospice Receives Compassionate Testimonials from Families
Working in hospice takes a strong will, a full heart and plenty of compassion. When that compassion reaches our patient's families, that's when we know we have truly lived out our Mission. Heartland Hospice serving Central Wisconsin recently received several testimonials from family members of patients citing the compassionate care their loved ones received:
"Thank you so much for being there for our father during his final weeks. Because of Heartland Hospice and your amazing and caring staff, we were able to honor our father's final wish of dying at home. A special thanks to our nurses, Melissa and Dawn. Melissa's kindness won our father's heart from day one. And Dawn was so wonderful on the day he took his last breath. Thank you really isn't enough to express our gratitude."
-Children of a hospice patient
"Thank you all for the wonderful care you have given my brother when he needed it most. He got his final wish to be at home because of all of you. Such a great, caring and compassionate group who truly cared. I definitely learned a lot from all of you, also. You did so much for us and I miss you already. You got me through more than you realize, so a big thank you!"
-Sister of a hospice patient
"You are all wonderful! My family and I are so grateful to all of the support you gave us during my husband's illness. I would never have been able to care for him without you. You helped us keep him home. Thank you, thank you."
-Wife of a hospice patient
"Words cannot express enough the thankfulness we have for you all! You have a tough job and I love you all for what you do. Your compassion was felt as you all cared for my dad. We all know it wasn't easy most of the time, but he enjoyed each and every one of you very much. My heart is full because of that. I will miss the visits, talks and support from all of you."
-Daughter of a hospice patient
“It's amazing to be a part of Hank's story and so cool to hear about his accomplishments!”Show More
Hospice Nurse Case Manager Fascinated by Patient's Career
The hospice care team not only cares for patients at the end-of-life, but they also take time to get to know and connect with their patients. Sometimes that includes listening to the patient's life story, discussing details about their own family, looking through old photo albums together or even singing their favorite songs together. Jessica, RN Case Manager with Heartland Hospice serving Central Wisconsin, tells about how she connected with her patient, Hank, while discussing his career.
"Henry 'Hank' Yonkers resides at The Lodge at Whispering Pines and is one of my hospice patients that I have recently bonded with. While discussing life one day, Hank shared with me what he did for work throughout his earlier years. He began working for Sit 'N Rest, a golf cart bag manufacturer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin as a part-time welder in the mid-1950's.
His passion for invention led him to designing components of the golf cart bags. He has two patents for the folding wheels and seat attachments. As time and his involvement in the company evolved, Hank ended up purchasing the company with other partners and he took over as Vice President. In the 1960s, Hank and his partners ended up selling the company. He said, 'The rest of my partners wanted to sell for the money. I was the only one who didn't want to sell.'
Hank's daughter told me there are 15 other golf cart bags in the attic of his house. I had to make sure to take a picture with Hank and one of the bags. It is so amazing to be a part of Hank's story and so cool to hear about his accomplishments!"
Veterans, many from the Korean War, gathered to share stories and camaraderie over donuts and coffee.Show More
Veterans Share Their Stories at Vet-to-Vet Cafe
Heartland Hospice Serving Central Wisconsin recently hosted a Vet-to-Vet Cafe at Arborwood Lodge in Wisconsin Rapids. Veterans, many from the Korean War, gathered to share stories and camaraderie over donuts and coffee. “This was such a nice experience for our vets,” said Stephanie, Activity Director at Arborwood Lodge. “They don’t often have the opportunity to open up about past military experiences. It was nice to see them discuss as they felt comfortable,” she said.
The Heartland Hospice team was able to listen to their stories and thank and recognize all of the veterans with pins and certificates.
“This visit was simply a wonderful way to end my week. I was happy to be a part of sharing one little girl's joy in getting ready to go back to school. It was a bucket-filling moment for me,” said Ann.Show More
Heartland Hospice Helps with School Supplies for Patient's Daughter
Heartland Hospice serving Central Wisconsin, a division of ProMedica, Medical Social Worker, Ann Roquet, had a conversation with patient, Tara Verage, about any worries, fears or concerns she might have. Tara expressed that her biggest worry was how she was going to get school supplies and clothing for her 6-year-old daughter, who would be starting first grade, when she was spending all her time in a hospital bed.
Ann didn’t hesitate to find a way to help Tara with her concern. She met with Pam Kanies, Heartland Hospice Administrator, on how the agency could jump in and help. Ann came up with the idea to start a school supply initiative at the agency. “I feel energized when I can connect a patient to something they need; especially when they have been worrying about it. I knew our agency would step-up and be enthusiastic and generous givers; and they were!” said Ann.
Ann and Ashley Davis, Heartland Hospice RN Case Manager, delivered the school supplies to Tara for her daughter Audrina. Ann and Ashley brought in a laundry basket overflowing with school shoes and boots, snacks to share with her classroom and teacher supplies. They also delivered a large bag of new clothing, which had Audrina’s favorite things like unicorns, rainbows and sequins, along with a unicorn backpack that was full of school supplies. The Heartland team was very thoughtful with their donations to make sure Audrina had everything she needed to go to school, plus more!
Tara and Audrina were overwhelmed with all the donated school supplies Heartland Hospice had given them. Tara thanked Ann and Ashley multiple times and Audrina couldn’t believe this was all for her, saying “mine…mine…all mine!” She tried on her new unicorn socks, leggings, shirt, headband and school shoes. Once dressed in her new outfit, she put on her new fleece jacket and her backpack and was ready to go out the door. She did eventually go outside to show her friend next door all her new clothes! Each piece of clothing was like a new treasure and she loved them all! “This visit was simply a wonderful way to end a busy day and week. I was happy to be a part of sharing one little girl's joy in getting ready to go back to school. It was a bucket-filling moment for me,” said Ann.
"Knowing that the nurse is just a phone call away is very reassuring for both Mom and myself."Show More
Out-of-State Daughter Thankful for Heartland Hospice's Communication
Nancy is the daughter of Delores, a hospice patient in the Central Wisconsin area. She and her family took time to write their thoughts on Heartland's hospice services, misconceptions about hospice and how thankful they are for Heartland's hospice team. Nancy's testimonial is the last of our 4-part testimonial series.
“Heartland Hospice has made a difficult time in our lives much easier. Providing services such as nursing and personal care, equipment, medications and supplies, they have made our mom's decision to forgo further treatment and live the final days of her life at home an easy transition.
I personally feel that all of the members of the hospice team we have met are highly trained and compassionate people who really care about not only the patient, but also the family. Each individual from the Nurse Practitioner Laurie, Social Worker Beth, Nurse Ashley, CNA Laura, Chaplain Jamie, Massage Therapist Jean, to the volunteers who stop to visit, all treat both Mom and our family with such kindness. They meet Mom's every need.
Living out of state and only being with mom for a week or two each month makes communication so important. Ashley has made it a point to contact me by phone when there have been major changes in Mom's health. Knowing that the nurse is just a phone call away is very reassuring for both Mom and myself.
I have been familiar with hospice throughout my nursing career, but it takes a special kind of person to work in hospice and Heartland Hospice definitely has only the best!”
Tom, son of a hospice patient, thanks Heartland Hospice and shares his thoughts on the care provided to his mother.Show More
We Feel Very Fortunate to Have Such Excellent Hospice Care
Tom is the son of Delores, a hospice patient in the Central Wisconsin area. Tom and his family took time to write their thoughts on Heartland's hospice services, misconceptions about hospice and how thankful they are for Heartland's hospice team. Tom's testimonial is the third of our 4-part testimonial series.
"Having spend a considerable amount of time in recent weeks with Mom, we have had ample opportunity to observe the care and services provided by Heartland Hospice. Everyone from Jean the therapist, to Laura the CNA, Laurie the Nurse Practitioner and Ashley the RN, have been outstanding in the delivery of care for our 99-year-old mom who is dealing with congestive heart failure. Compassionate care and good communication have been obvious in each visit by the Heartland professionals working with Mom.
Each of the health care professionals has spent time discussing with Mom and all of the family members the medical conditions and changes taking place over time. They use language that is both professional and easy for all of us to understand. They make every effort to assure Mom, as well as all of the family members, that she (and we) should always feel free to ask questions and make suggestions regarding care.
Heartland Hospice has provided Mom with top quality equipment and supplies to assist in making her feel comfortable and at ease while receiving hospice care at home. Not only have they set up the equipment, but they have ensured that we all know how to use the equipment.
We feel very fortunate to have such excellent hospice care for our Mom. Thank you."
"Scruffy is a happy dog and makes people smile. Hospice patients are in a transition time that is stressful and Scruffy can bring them a few minutes of happiness during his visits."Show More
Heartland Hospice Volunteer and Her Dog Brighten Patients' Days
Every Friday for the last 11 months, Paula Graves, Heartland Hospice Volunteer, and her dog, Scruffy, have visited patients at The Waterford in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. Scruffy is a five-year-old English Cream Golden Retriever who loves people and is able to connect with the patients he visits. Since he is a larger dog, Scruffy is able to sit next to patients where they can easily reach his head and ears to pet him.
This dynamic duo looks forward to their visits every Friday. “I work from home, so it is nice to get out one morning a week and bring some joy to others. Scruffy is a happy guy and makes people smile. Hospice patients are in a transition time that is stressful and Scruffy can bring them a few minutes of happiness during his visits,” says Paula about volunteering with Heartland Hospice. “I also know the jobs of staff people are not always easy and if we can brighten their day, this will encourage them. Our world is filled with negativity and I just want to counter that with something positive.”
To see the video of Paula and Scruffy on WSAW-TV, click here.
"With the services provided by Heartland Hospice, I have been so grateful to have the guidance and support of their many wonderful professionals."Show More
Daughter Grateful for Heartland Hospice's Support for Her Mom
Pat is the daughter of Delores, a hospice patient in the Central Wisconsin area. She and her family took time to write their thoughts on Heartland's hospice services, misconceptions about hospice and how thankful they are for Heartland's hospice team. Pat's testimonial is the second of our 4-part testimonial series.
"When we learned of Mom's condition becoming so serious, I knew our lives would all be changed because of this. We felt it an honor to be able to assist her in this phase of her well-lived life. Having been aware of Mom's resiliency throughout her years, we realized she couldn't come out of this situation as she had always been able to in the past.
We siblings, all being retired, had committed to taking turns staying with Mom and making it possible for her to remain in her own home as long as she wished. Along with our spouses, we have been able to schedule our weeks around each other's commitments to make this happen.
With the services provided by Heartland Hospice, I have been so grateful to have the guidance and support of their many wonderful professionals. They make this otherwise stressful or sad time of adjustment and acceptance, instead become a time of loving, caring, reflecting and sharing."
"Heartland’s knowledgeable, observant, and compassionate staff have helped me continue living my life as I always have... one day at a time."Show More
Hospice Patient Thankful Heartland Helped Her Return Home from the Hospital
Delores is a hospice patient in the Central Wisconsin area. She and her family took time to write their thoughts on Heartland's hospice services, misconceptions about hospice and how thankful they are for Heartland's hospice team. Delores's testimonial is the first of our 4-part testimonial series.
"Just two weeks after reaching the ripe old age of 99, I suddenly found myself a patient in the hospital. A cardiologist was explaining my diagnosis of congestive heart failure. The heart murmur I've known about all of my life was now a valve working at only 15%. My options were limited due to my age and deteriorated heart condition.
When I expressed that I did not want any surgery due to my advanced age, the cardiologist suggested that I speak with hospice representatives. I listened carefully to what they said in answer to our many questions and I was put at ease with what I was hearing. I was relieved to learn that hospice could make it possible for me to return home while coping with my congestive heart failure. Until this time, I also never knew that hospice was covered by Medicare and a concern of mine had been cost.
The day I was discharged from the hospital, Heartland Hospice had already arranged for a hospital bed to be delivered and set up in my bedroom waiting for me, along with oxygen supplies that were there for my use. Heartland Hospice personnel arrived shortly after my coming home and introduced us to their care program.
My own family had agreed that they would take turns assisting with my care at home, hospice would then cover all of my health care needs and support us all. Their guidance has helped me and my family understand my needs and how to care for me. Hospice has helped us all understand and accept the fact that the end-of-life experience need not be stressful. It can instead be a time for loving, caring and sharing.
Heartland Hospice's knowledgeable, observant and compassionate staff have helped me continue living my life as I always have... one day at a time."
Heartland Hospice serving Central Wisconsin, a division of ProMedica, helped patient, Carol Schumann, participate in Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation (AADF) Dream Flight event at the Waupaca Municipal Airport.Show More
Heartland Hospice and Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation Honor Veteran Patient with Dream Flight
Heartland Hospice serving Central Wisconsin, a division of ProMedica, helped patient, Carol Schumann, participate in Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation (AADF) Dream Flight event at the Waupaca Municipal Airport. Dream Flights are held as a way to honor local veterans with a ride in a Boeing Stearman, a 9-cylinder World War II open cockpit biplane flown by volunteer pilots and crew. Each veteran is assisted into the aircraft by local firefighters then experiences a flight over the area.
Carol served in the U.S. Navy as a Machine Accountant, rank MA3, from 1962-1964. She was stationed at Portsmouth Naval Hospital during the Vietnam War. Carol currently resides at Iola Living Assistance, where she also receives care from Heartland Hospice. She is proud of her service, and also her husband and son. Carol likes to tell people that she chose the military so that she could further her education by serving, but she chose the Navy specifically because the uniforms were the most attractive!
“Being there to cheer on Carol for her Dream Flight was one of my favorite hospice moments. The brightness and spark in Carol after landing in the biplane and being recognized for her service, is the very definition of enriching life. It’s an honor to be a part of this wonderful event!” said Holly Hurda, Heartland Hospice Account Liaison.
Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation was proud to have Carol receive a Dream Flight as the first female veteran to ride in the Spirit of Wisconsin biplane!
Heartland Hospice serving Central Wisconsin, a division of ProMedica, helped patient, Ron Cider, participate in Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation (AADF) Dream Flight event at the Waupaca Municipal Airport.Show More
Heartland Hospice Patient Participates in Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation Dream Flight
Heartland Hospice serving Central Wisconsin, a division of ProMedica, helped patient, Ron Cider, participate in Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation (AADF) Dream Flight event at the Waupaca Municipal Airport. Dream Flights are held as a way to honor local veterans with a ride in a Boeing Stearman, a 9-cylinder World War II open cockpit biplane flown by volunteer pilots and crew. Each veteran is assisted into the aircraft by local firefighters then experiences a flight over the area.
Ron served 20 years in the Air Force, maintaining 150 minuteman nuclear missiles in North Dakota. He currently resides at King Veterans Home in Wisconsin and received care from Heartland Hospice. Even with his fragile condition, he was determined to fly! Thanks to his excellent care team, they had a plan to make his dream flight come true. Ron’s care team had arranged for 4 Waupaca Fireman to carefully lift Ron into the cockpit. The pilot also made sure there was enough padding for Ron to enjoy his flight in comfort. For 30 minutes, Ron was the star of the show and soared in the skies one last time.
The deep joy and rich experience the AADF Dream Flight brought to Ron was immediate and obvious. Ron’s Dream Flight is a prime example of how these experiences reach deep into the human soul and why we are so strongly committed to our mission of ‘giving back to those who have given.’ It was such an honor and privilege to be able to give Ron this Dream Flight. Blue skies and tail winds good Sir, and thank you for your service to our great country,” said Darryl Fisher, Founder Pilot for AADF.
For “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day” the care team at Heartland Hospice serving Central Wisconsin recognized all of the Vietnam Veterans on hospice by presenting them with patriotic blankets.Show More
“It was very heartwarming to help fulfill someone’s last wish. It truly brought tears to my eyes just to see something that what I might think is so simple, brightens someone else’s day. It really is about the simple things in life that bring the greatest amounts of joy, which is a great reminder around this time of year."Show More
Heartland Hospice Helps Veteran Patient Celebrate Christmas
Tom Mehlbrech, a Navy Veteran and Heartland Hospice patient, spoke with Jennie, Hospice Aide at Heartland Hospice serving Central Wisconsin, about the upcoming holidays and how much he loves celebrating Christmas. He told Jennie that he would like to enjoy one last Christmas tree in his home. Hearing Tom’s wish, Jennie knew she had to find the perfect tree for Tom. Not only did she find a tree that matched Tom’s description, but other members of the hospice team wanted to help grant his wish by baking cookies, bringing decorations and spending time with Tom to celebrate his favorite holiday.
Ann, Medical Social Worker, Lisa, RN Case Manager, Deb, Hospice Aide, KC, Account Liaison and Jennie visited Tom at his home in Wisconsin Rapids and began putting his Christmas tree together in the corner of his living room so that he could enjoy seeing it while watching TV. The tree was decorated with beautiful lights along with red, white and blue ornaments in honor of Tom being a Navy Veteran. Tom was speechless upon seeing his Christmas tree and said it reminded him of Christmas’ from a long time ago. After the decorations were hung, everyone sang Christmas carols together and enjoyed cookies and egg nog.
During Jennie’s visits with Tom, he would often discuss his favorite football team, the Green Bay Packers, and how the team has been playing. KC contacted the Green Bay Packers in hopes of having Tom go to Lambeau Field and see a game, but with his health declining, the organization sent Tom a care package instead. When Tom received the package at home, he thought it was sent to the wrong person until he read the personalized card addressed to him. The Green Bay Packers sent Tom a 2016 team autographed football, and a hat, a picture and a blanket signed by Aaron Rodgers.
“It was very heartwarming to help fulfill someone’s last wish. It truly brought tears to my eyes just to see something that what I might think is so simple, brightens someone else’s day. It really is about the simple things in life that bring the greatest amounts of joy, which is a great reminder around this time of year. I love my job, I love helping people and it is always my goal to keep my patients smiling and laughing. I want to support my patients in any way that I can, in some of the hardest times in their life. If I can get a smile or laugh out of my patients, and support them as well, then I know that I have done my job whole heartedly,” said Jennie.
Tom enjoyed himself, and was brought to tears at the end of the visit by the huge hearts of these ladies and their determination to see his wish come true.
Heartland Home Health and Hospice has been selected as the 2018 Veteran Friendly Business of the Year by the Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce and their nearly 200 members.Show More
Heartland Hospice Committed to Veteran Patients, Employees and Community
Heartland Home Health and Hospice has been selected as the 2018 Veteran Friendly Business of the Year by the Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce and their nearly 200 members. The Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce is a membership-based business organization serving veterans and military families by supporting veteran-owned and veteran-friendly businesses across Wisconsin.
“Heartland Home Health and Hospice has helped to grow and support Wisconsin’s veteran business community.” said Saul Newton, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce. “Our economy, our communities, and our state are stronger when veterans succeed. We are proud to recognize them and the work they’ve done to expand economic opportunity for military veterans, military service members, and military families.”
Heartland was selected not only for their commitment and contributions to the Veterans Chamber of Commerce but also for their commitment to their veteran employees, patients and the veteran community. Tracy Rosinski, Heartland Manager of Business Development was presented with the award for 2018 Veteran Friendly Business of the Year at the Wisconsin Veterans Business Conference this past spring at the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino.
“We have a unique responsibility to offer our patients a chance to heal emotionally at the end of life; especially our veterans. I am humbled at the opportunity to educate the community on the needs that dying veterans have at the end of life and increase awareness of the care Heartland provides to our veteran patients, their families and our communities,” explained Tracy.
Heartland Hospice serving Central Wisconsin helped patient, Robert Cole, participate in an Ageless Aviation Foundation Dream Flights event at the Stevens Point Municipal Airport.Show More
Heartland Helps Hospice Patient Participate in Dream Flight
Heartland Hospice serving Central Wisconsin helped patient, Robert Cole, participate in an Ageless Aviation Foundation Dream Flights event at the Stevens Point Municipal Airport. Dream Flights are held as a way to honor local veterans with a ride in a Boeing Stearman, World War II open cockpit airplane flown by community pilots. Each veteran is assisted into the aircraft by local firefighters then experiences an approximately 15-minute flight over the area.
“It was great to finally be welcomed home,” stated Robert. “When I came back from Vietnam I wasn’t welcomed back,” he added. Robert served in the army during the Vietnam War from 1966 to 1970. After his Dream Flight was completed, Robert was greeted by his wife, Jeanne; Heartland Hospice nurse, Kristi LeJeunesse; and pilot, Darryl Fisher.
“That ride was like freedom,” exclaimed Robert.
ProMedica Hospice Patient's Heart's Desire Fulfilled with Helicopter Ride
ProMedica Hospice serving Northwest Ohio worked with ProMedica Air and Mobile to help make their terminally ill patient, Nathan Herb’s, Heart’s Desire come true.Read the Full Story On Our Blog
The power of the individual, the importance of relationships and the value of respect and dignity to everyone at every stage of life are the backbone of our philosophy. We would love to work with you to help grant the wishes of your loved one. See some of the ways we have fulfilled our patients' heart's desires.Read On Our Blog