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Hospice News SPR ING 2 0 1 3


Grieving shared through poetry

“Make This House A Home”: Anonymous donor offers 3 to 1 match on donations

Hospice Suites:

Enhanced comfort for hospice patients at The Neighborhoods at Brookview

the value of


Pastor Gregg Tebeest Hospice Chaplain After work one day my wife and I enjoyed a meal together and shortly after finished another day. As my head touched the pillow that night, I remember running through the list of “to do’s” in my work schedule for the next day. The week was coming to an end and I looked forward to accomplishing everything on my list. Thinking I had things under control, I drifted off to sleep. About 1:30 a.m. I woke up with a nagging fullness in my stomach. Within the hour the nagging fullness gave way to raging flu. I had all the usual symptoms. As the fever and the sick bed gripped me that night and the following day, I found it interesting that I forgot what day it was. Time seemed to stand still and events and schedules no longer concerned me. All that mattered was survival. All that mattered was the moment. In my fever induced condition, I remember feeling strangely liberated in my illness. In spite of my misery, I felt at peace. Something as benign as the stomach flu reminded me that we finite beings have little control over much of anything. At the drop of a hat things can change. Life itself can change, and there’s nothing we can do about it. Most are aware of this truth. But there is a truth less well known. The common flu also reminded me that there is value in illness. That’s right. There’s value in illness. How can this be? After all, given the choice most of us would avoid illness like…well, the plague. I would choose illness for neither myself nor anyone else. And yet illness reminded me that we are more than what our bodies can produce. Our culture values production. As a result, our bodies are seen as instruments of production whether we work in the factory, office, or even in the home. Societal mores imply that those who lose their function through illness, disease, or even age suddenly lose their meaning


and purpose. They are no longer productive and are therefore a burden to society. Some who are ill even lose their sense of self as their identity is tied up in what they do or have done. Isn’t it interesting that obituaries tend to focus on what people are rather than who they are? We honor accomplishment. We value production. I have heard people who are terminally ill say that they never felt more alive than when they were first diagnosed. In his book, At the Will of the Body, Arthur Frank reflects on his experience with cancer diagnosis, treatment, and eventually recovery. He described his experience as a renewal. “The ultimate value of illness,” he says, “is that it teaches us the value of being alive; this is why the ill are not just charity cases, but a presence to be valued. Illness and, ultimately, death remind us of living. Death is no enemy of life; it restores our sense of the value of living. Illness restores the sense of proportion that is lost when we take life for granted. To learn about value and proportion we need to honor illness, and ultimately to honor death.” Illness gives us permission to slow down, to reflect, and to experience living life. At some point we will all experience illness and death. Ours is a fellowship of suffering. As Frank says, becoming productive of ourselves as human beings means we witness the suffering of illness, share it, and allow ourselves to live in light of what that sharing teaches us we can be. The ultimate question is what will society do with illness? Will we honor it as Frank suggests? Honoring illness and death is a goal of hospice care provided by Brookings Health System. Our staff of caring professionals strives to affirm the ill in all we do because we recognize the value of illness.


Dr. Richard Holm Hospice Medical Director The late physician poet John Stone wrote of Death,

I have seen come on slowly as rust sand or suddenly as when someone leaving a room finds the doorknob come loose in his hand. This is not a topic about which anyone likes to talk. The poignant truth, however, is that all of us will die one day, so we should go there every once in a while. Many say

they would like to die quickly and unexpectedly. Let me go at ninety, shot by a jealous lover. Or more realistically, let it happen in the night during sleep, after a joyful day, as a very old person, still with all my faculties.

wasn’t so bad!” or “Wow, that caught me off guard!” or “I wish I could have told my family one more time that I love them.” Or “That was a better way to go than that long and drawn out suffering way!”

As a physician, I have seen death occur in many ways. Certainly, no one wants to die slowly while suffering or after a long period without the capacity to know what is going on. In these cases I have grown to appreciate the hospice attitude of comfort care instead of medically trying to prolong an un-enjoyable life. Perhaps our ability to keep someone alive has gone past our ethical understanding about how to know when to allow a natural death.

I have had too much opportunity watching people hear and react to words like, “We have found cancer, and your condition is terminal.” We are simply not built as human beings to handle the hopeless sound of a phrase like that.

But here we are talking sudden death, the kind of end that is unexpected. When we lose someone and we have to say, “Why?” I have often wondered what the ghosts of those who die so abruptly must think. Is it, “That

It is better to live our lives with hope for a reasonable future, but still knowing that at any moment this could be our last. One friend told me that when it’s his time to go, “Surprise me.”

Take home message: 1. Talk to your family about your own death wishes. 2. Finish your business and say what you should say everyday.

A L O N E Priscilla Eitel of Brookings has written a poem which describes the process and progression of her grief. She describes movement from despair to a desire to “embrace life.” It’s important to remember that we each grieve differently. Nonetheless you may find something of your feelings and perceptions in Priscilla’s words.

Mavis Gehant Hospice Social Worker

Priscilla’s poem consists of four chapters. The first was written a month following her husband’s death, the second two months later. The third and fourth were written two and four years later. You will find these poems on the next two pages. Enjoy.

spring 2013



by: Priscilla Eitel


- the telephone rings - a brief message - a gasp – and - my world is shattered. The rainbow colors of joy and happiness turn to ever-deepening shades of gray - I’m caught in a descending swirl of anguish - into a maelstrom of despair - cascading tears plunge me into a mist of -

Nothingness Time stands still as I experience my existence redefined. - I ricochet from fear to hope - from distress to dismay - my life now defined by an icy-blue circle of sorrow. - I’m slowly diminished – - I am Alone Alone

I wait

- I wait for a familiar step - a familiar voice - the smile that melts my heart. It cannot be that the touch of understanding - the aura of contentment - the warmth of love is lost to me – forever. It cannot be that the joy, - the laughter – - the excitement – - the unexpected -surprises are only memories. No – it cannot be. So, I wait. The dichotomy that’s me turns away - from the chaos that has become - a mosaic of memories - a fractured world that cannot be reassembled. My mind shuts out the pain. -as I wait Alone

Still Alone I waken to another day of sameness - once again, emotions of - helplessness, emptiness, and - bewilderment twist me like fireflies dancing in the night. 3 months 6 months 2 years. I close my eyes yearning to catch a glimpse of a promising tomorrow - then - slowly - I sense a subtle change - calmness surrounds me. I become aware that smiles - greetings - inquiries - conversations Are invitations to open my mind and heart to gestures of sincere concern. - wrapped in kindness and thoughtfulness I begin my journey in a new direction. There is no replacement for my loss – but a balance of memories I cherish remain. I will embrace life Alone Alone I greet each day with anticipation. - what new adventure is waiting? I’ve let the world in, as I discover - new skills - new interests - gifts that impact my life. Realization that every loss is a challenge and every challenge is an opportunity - a seed is planted and nurtured - enriching my life. The most wonderful gift of all - a very special gift - that through the darkest days - deep within me - I knew that God was guiding my journey. In silence I listen - feel the comfort of hope and faith Enveloped in new resolve - I turn - with each step I do not walk Alone

Hospice Suites to Bring Comfort at

The Neighborhoods at Brookview Foundation donations to enhance hospice experience for residents When The Neighborhoods at Brookview opens this spring, the skilled nursing facility will feature a new amenity: hospice suites, rooms dedicated to those residents who face a terminal illness and receive hospice care.

While Brookings Health System has the funding to build the new house, Brookings Health System Foundation is asking the community to help raise $600,000 by June 1 to “Make This House a Home.”

“Hospice isn’t a place. Hospice is a comprehensive kind of care that focuses on living,” said Hospice and Home Health Director Lynne Kaufmann. “We can provide hospice care wherever the home is, even if the person’s home is a nursing home.” Funds donated to Brookings Health System Foundation will help enhance hospice care at The Neighborhoods at Brookview. Suites within the new facility are being designed specifically to provide medical, emotional and spiritual care for hospice patients, helping them to live as fully as possible, surrounded by family and friends, up until the end of life. The project, focused on placing the patient and family at the center of the care process, is a workin-progress led by Kaufmann and Brookview Administrator Jason Hanssen. According to Kaufmann, the plan is to enhance one room initially. “We plan to provide inspirational artwork for the walls. For the comfort of the resident and the family, we will invest in special bedding, comforters and a chair that pulls out to a bed so family members can stay close to their loved one.”

The new, pod-style facility will have three distinct neighborhoods. Each neighborhood will consist of two households that will accommodate 13 residents, a total of 26 residents per neighborhood. The neighborhoods and households will include kitchen and living spaces as well as private family dining rooms, spa areas and other amenities, enabling residents to live in a homelike atmosphere. In addition to the hospice enhancements, Foundation Development Officer Barb Anderson says funds raised will be used to purchase items over and above the building project budget, which may include pianos, art by South Dakota artists, raised garden beds, a pool table, landscaping, a bus and bus garage, whirlpool baths and a system to pipe oxygen to each room. Donations can be made to the campaign online at www. or you can fill out the form on page seven and mail your donation to Brookings Health System Foundation.

The hospice areas at The Neighborhoods at Brookview will feature technology that supports long distance communication, including an HDTV and computer to enable internet video conferencing with family members and others who are not able to travel to Brookings to be with their loved one. “At times, we depend upon entertainment to divert our attention and help us relax,” said Hanssen. “To meet those needs, a DVD player, stereo system, and minirefrigerator will be included in these hospice areas.” Hospice staff will coordinate with skilled nursing staff at The Neighborhoods to offer professional support and care, high-quality pain management and symptom control.


Hospice and Home Health Director Lynne Kaufmann and Brookview Administrator Jason Hanssen look over architectural plans in the first hospice suite at The Neighborhoods at Brookview that will have enhanced amenities thanks to donations made to Brookings Health System Foundation.

Goal: $600,000

$110,000 to go!

New 3 to1 Match!

For every dollar you give today an anonymous donor will give three dollars until we reach our goal of $600,000. Give Today & Quadruple Your Gift! Brookings Health System is currently building a new skilled nursing facility on Yorkshire Drive. We ask for your help to “Make This House A Home!� Your donations to the Foundation now will make this new house a home with pianos, art from South Dakota artists, game tables, landscaping, oxygen piped to each room, a bus and bus garage. Our Goal is $600,000 by June 1, 2013. To date, generous donors have given $490,000. Please help raise the remaining $110,000. Use the pledge form below or give online at

Thank You!

$490 ,000 Raised!

Clip and mail to Brookings Health System Foundation, 300 Twenty-Second Avenue Brookings, SD 57006

Donor Information (Please print.)

I (we) want to pledge to Brookings Health System Foundation.

Credit Card:


Path Finder ($25,000+): $

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Prairie Nightingale Society ($10,000+): $

Address: City: State:

total pledge amount

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Security Code (# on back):

Other: $

Name on Card (please print):


Phone (home):

1 yr

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Monthly : Total Number of Months:

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I (we) will make this contribution in the form of (circle one):

Authorized Signature: ___________________________

Zip Code (of card holder): __ __ __ __ __





Pioneer: $1,000 $3,000 $5,000 (Circle One) total pledge amount




Master Card

Automatic Withdrawal

Automatic Withdrawal: Checking


(Circle One)

Bank Account #: Routing ABA#:

Questions? Contact Brookings Health System Foundation at or (605) 696-8855.


Delores Brage Dolores Brage is a volunteer who has a long history volunteering for hospice. She began when the Brookings Health System’s hospice program was first launched in 1995 and has been faithfully providing services since then. Dolores grew up close to Canon Falls, Minn. She followed in her mother’s footsteps by becoming an elementary school teacher as her mother had been. Dolores taught grades K – 4 in Welch, Minn. where she had all five grades in the same room. Dolores says she enjoyed teaching. She married Burt Brage and moved to Brookings where Burt was the Associate Dean of the Agricultural College at SDSU. Burt died in 2007. They have two daughters. Sharon teaches Spanish in Sioux Falls and Diane teaches at the medical school in Lincoln, Neb. Dolores has four grandchildren. Dolores enjoys volunteering and being of assistance to not only the hospice clients, but their families as well. She said she feels a concern for others in need of help and likes to be available to be of service. Dolores volunteered in hospice though she had no experience with anyone who was dying or even seriously ill.

Dolores is no stranger to volunteering. She volunteers at the South Dakota State Art Museum and has been a member of Brookings Healthcare Auxiliary since 1960, where she is currently in charge of their meals on wheels program. She is also involved in the social activities at United Living Community.

Delores Brage

Are you interested in becoming a Hospice Volunteer? We would like to have you join us! Our hospice program utilizes volunteers in a variety of ways at all levels of skill, from providing companionship to a hospice patient and their family, to assisting with meals, to doing administrative work in our office. We are in need of more compassionate and caring men and women. If you’re interested in volunteering, call Mavis at (605) 696-7700 for more information.

Thank you Dolores, for your good and faithful contribution to the hospice program!


Hospice Foundation of America 20th Annual

Living with Grief


Improving Care for Veterans Facing Illness and Death Thursday • May 9, 2013 • 12:15 – 3:45 p.m. First Lutheran Church Activity Center • Main Avenue & 8th Street, Brookings $10 REGISTRATION FEE • PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED PRE-REGISTRATION DUE MAY 1 • LUNCH WILL BE SERVED Service, rigors, values and experiences inherent to serving in the U.S. military shape and define a veteran’s life. As veterans age, these factors may also directly influence how veterans approach serious illness and confront their own death.


This program is designed to assist end-of-life care provider organizations and health and human service professionals in enhancing their sensitivities and understanding of veterans and to provide professionals with new interventions to better serve dying veterans and their families.

To register or for more information: Pr. George Gehant (605) 696-7505 • e-mail: PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED

Hospice Agency Celebrates the Contributions of its Volunteers during National Volunteer Week, April 21 – 27 Hospice Volunteers Bring Comfort, Love and Respect National Volunteer Week is April 21 – 27, 2013 and Brookings Health System Hospice Agency is honoring its core of dedicated volunteers who provide support, companionship and dignity to members of the community facing serious and life-limiting illness. “We could not do the work we do without the gifts of time and talent from our hospice volunteers who support our organization and walk with patients and families during the journey at life’s end,” said Brookings Health System Hospice Director Lynne Kaufmann. Here in Brookings, eight active volunteers give of their time to help Brookings Health System Hospice Agency care for patients and families in the community. Hospice volunteers often serve patients and families at the bedside but they also assist in the office, help raise awareness, and more. Hospice volunteers help the people they serve live every moment of life to the fullest and enable the organizations they work with to achieve their mission in the community. Most hospice volunteers choose to give their time helping others because of their own experience with the compassionate care hospice provided to a dying loved one.

According to Mavis Gehant, hospice volunteer coordinator, “Hospice volunteers spend their time with hospice clients and families for a variety of reasons. They often say they do it because a family member received hospice care. They found that to be helpful and meaningful and now they want to ‘give back.’ Others want to be helpful and supportive to someone else during a profound and perhaps difficult time.” The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization reports that there are an estimated 450,000 hospice volunteers providing more than 21 million hours of service to hospice programs each year. More than 1.65 million patients in the U.S. are cared for by hospice every year. It is federally mandated under Medicare that five percent of all patient care hours be provided by trained volunteers. This regulation reflects the vital role that volunteers play in the hospice philosophy of care and ensures that a hospice program has roots deep in the community.


Lynette Richarz

Lynette Richarz has been an aide for our home health and hospice agency for over 13 years. In this role, she provides her patients with bathing, dressing assistance, and other activities of daily living. She says she enjoys her job, specifically giving comfort, getting to know the patient and family, and giving the family members a break. Lynette graduated from Deuel High School and also attended Lake Area Technical Institute for Human Services. She worked as an aide at the hospital when she was in high school, and worked in a group home while going to votech. Lynette and her husband, Ron, have three children: Mikey (13), Katie (7), and Lauren (2). In her spare time, she likes to bake, play softball and play sports with her kids.


Brookings Health System Hospice would like to acknowledge with appreciation the following donations (received through 3/31/12):

In Memory of Marion Finn Betty McAdaragh In Memory of Donna Weiss The Jacobs Family In Memory of Ruth Erickson Hartman Erickson

In Memory of Lorraine Doop Sioux Valley Extension Club Donation from Rudes Home Furnishing Donation from Gregg and Lauri Tebeest

In Memory of Robert Schultz Gloria Pike

Donation from Windsor Township Charity Fund

In Memory of Ronald Moore Joy Moore

Donation from Joyce Svennes

We Extend Sympathy to the Families of Patients Lost through March 2013: Derald Bauman 9/18/32 - 3/30/13

Vernon Lawrence 7/16/20 - 2/16/13

Gerald Bohls 12/13/33 - 1/4/13

Richard Mallett 5/21/44 - 3/31/13

Eugene Butler, Jr. 12/3/22 - 2/13/13

Ronald Moore 4/22/27 - 2/27/13

Bernadean Carlson 3/10/24 - 2/1/13

Linda Schoenbeck 8/15/53 - 3/16/13

Ruth Erickson 2/17/23 - 1/30/13

Robert Schulz 3/8/33 - 2/6/13

Alice Fredrickson 9/2/25 - 3/26/13

Karen Spurgeon 9/3/60 - 1/2/13

Leo Gebhart 10/20/17 - 3/10/13

Donna Weiss 11/21/57 - 1/23/13

Geraldine Gengler 4/4/19 - 3/23/13

Mabel Yurgaitis 10/6/17 - 2/22/13

Todd Krumm 3/16/60 - 3/26/13

spring 2013


300 Twenty-Second Avenue Brookings, SD 57006 ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED

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Hospice News is published by Brookings Health System. This publication in no way seeks to serve as substitute for professional medical care. Consult your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.

Upcoming Events Hospice Volunteer Meeting……………………………………………………………Last Monday of each month Improving Care for Veterans Facing Illness & Death videoconference…………………………May 9 at 12 p.m

Inspiring Health

(605) 696-7700

Hospice News Spring 2013