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Hospice News FALL 2 0 1 3

Happy Holidays? How to cope with grief during seasonal celebrations

We Honor Veterans: Our hospice team reaches Level Two status in unique program

Bottling It Up: The cost of hiding feelings

We Extend Sympathy to the families of patients lost through September 2013: Ann Aaberg


Sharill Becker


Marvin Bertsch


Arlen Berwald


Joseph Engelhart


Richard Fehl


Irene Friedrich


Richard Groon


Wendell Jensen


Helge Larson


Edwin Luetzow


Marie Mathison


Dilly Munch


Carol Perry


Delbert Peterson


Deanna Rhody


Ervin Schultz


George Whitehead



Shelly Deknikker Shelly Deknikker has been with Brookings Health System Home Health and Hospice Agency for 17 years.

She is an lpn, and in that role she

provides nursing visits to our patients and assists the primary nurses as needed. She attends our hospice team meetings every week to give input and listen to family concerns as well as gain updated information for when she is on call for our patients. When asked what she enjoys most about working with hospice patients, Shelly said getting to know different people and meeting new families. She has enjoyed learning about their lives and what they have gone through, both good and bad times, and great moments they have had. She also feels a calling to support the patient and their families as they prepare for the loss of their loved ones. She started her nursing education in the summer of 1990 and took classes at Huron University and SDSU before graduating from the LPN program at Lake Area Tech. Prior to graduating from school, she worked at the nursing home in Lake Preston, staying there until 1996 when she joined the staff at our agency. Shelly has been married to Terry Deknikker since 1991. They have four girls: Chelsea, 22; Carissa, 20; Cailey, 17 and a senior at Lake Preston High School; and Charlee who is 10 months old. Her hobbies revolve around her children, attending Cailey’s senior year activities. Baby Charlee also keeps them busy as well.

Brookings Health System Hospice would like to acknowledge with appreciation the following donations (received through 9/30/13): In Memory of Lawrence Jensen From James and Nanci Paulson From Gregg TeBeest In Memory of Kenneth Swedlund From Kay Christianson In Memory of Irene “Gussy” Friedrich From Brent Gordy and Janice Kennedy From Stanton and Jean Shirk


In Memory of Delbert Peterson From Gregg TeBeest In Memory of Marie Mathison From Joyce Jacobs From Grace and John Wangberg Donation from Brookings Chapter #15 Easter Star Donation from United Church Women

Nurses Attend NHPCO Clinical Team Conference

Three staff members of Brookings Health System Hospice recently attended the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s Clinical Team Conference in Kansas City, Missouri.

Attending the conference were registered nurses Deb Moore, Shari Kleinjan, and Deb Aalderks. The Clinical Team Conference is designed to enhance the knowledge and skills of those who deliver quality end-of-life care to patients and family caregivers through hospice. It included content designed to enhance knowledge, inspire new programming, and improve competence. By offering more than 120 educational sessions, the focus was on the provision of quality hospice palliative care. In addition to the education content, the conference offered numerous networking opportunities that enabled the attendees to meet and exchange information with colleagues from across the country. After returning home, the nurses will be sharing the things they learned with the staff in Brookings so all can benefit from the education provided.

Brookings Health System’s Hospice Achieves Level Two Status in We Honor Veterans Program

Brookings Health System was recruited by NHPCO to participate in the campaign in 2010 and achieved level one status in 2011. To achieve level two status, Brookings Health System’s hospice program conducted veteran-specific presentations for staff and veteran organizations, integrated Veteran-specific content into orientation materials, processes and procedures for staff and volunteers, and established relationships with Veteran Affairs organizations. Staff and volunteers of Brookings Health System’s hospice will now focus on achieving level three status within the program. NHPCO, in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), launched We Honor Veterans in October 2010. The pioneering campaign aims to improve the care veterans receive from hospice providers and empowers hospice professionals to meet the unique needs of dying veterans.

Brookings Health System’s hospice program recently achieved level two status in the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s (NHPCO) We Honor Veterans program. They are currently the only hospice provider in South Dakota to reach level two status.

“Hospice professionals focus on providing comfort and

support at the end of life,” said Home Health and Hospice Director Lynne Kaufmann. “Veterans facing the end of life have a unique set of needs, which is why Brookings Health System participates in the We Honor Veterans program. The program provides us resources to educate our staff and volunteers on how to honor, respect and welcome home veterans facing the end of life.”

The program teaches respectful inquiry, compassionate listening and grateful acknowledgement to comfort patients with a history of military service and possible physical or psychological trauma. It also provides practical resources, including downloadable forms and descriptions of veteran benefits. Brookings Health System’s hospice program is one component of the organization’s home services. For more information on home health and hospice, or to request services, call (605) 696-7700 or visit

fall 2013


Facing the

Holidays “So what’s there to be thankful for?” snarled Sheryl. This was the first Thanksgiving without her husband and facing the holidays seemed overwhelming and a cruel imposition. “How do I even begin to think about getting through this? I just want to go to sleep and wake up when it’s all over,” she thought.

Overwhelming? Indeed. Cruel imposition? It certainly seems that way when one is already weighed down with grief and exhausted physically, emotionally and spiritually. There is no energy for this much less the enthusiasm.

For those grieving, especially those with fresh grief or going through the holidays for the first time since the death of a loved one, the whole business may feel nothing short of frightening. What to do? Begin by recognizing that things will be different this year but we have choices. We don’t have to do the same thing we always did. The traditions can be modified, perhaps some even dropped. We can choose to move through the holidays in a new way this year. One family decided, after much discussion and even some arguing, that this year the big traditional tree with all the ornaments collected over the years just did not seem right. Yet, not having a tree did not seem right either. They finally decided on a small table top tree that the children in the family decorated. Then they decorated a framed picture of their lost loved one and placed it on the buffet in the dining room. Another family decided to seat the youngest family member in grandpa’s usual chair at the table, signifying the continuation of the family and their connection with one another. Some may chose to avoid the entire thing. One woman decided against spending time with family at Thanksgiving and got a room in a motel in a city near by and read, napped, knitted and swam in the motel pool instead. A man who’d lost his wife told his sister not to depend on him attending a Christmas gathering of the family until she checked in with him Christmas morning because he would not know if he was up to it until then. We have choices. It is important to recognize that, decide what we want to do, then communicate that to family members and friends.


Mavis Gehant Hospice Social Worker

This may also be the year to enlist help from others in holiday preparation. Who else can bake the pumpkin pie? Get the decorations from the storage space above the garage? Buy the tree? Attend services with us? Help bake the cookies? There are also ways to intentionally remember our lost loved one during the holidays. A fresh flower of their favorite color. A toast to them at dinner. A prayer naming them. Everyone sharing a memory of the loved one. A special ornament hung in the loved one’s memory. A candle lit each day during the season. A donation given to a favorite charity in our loved one’s name. Some of us may find we are actually enjoying ourselves somewhat with all the family and friends around. Somehow it seems to pull us out of our lethargy and sadness. Then we feel guilty for having a little fun! It’s OK to have some fun, to laugh, to enjoy the love and companionship of others. That, too, is part of life and part of our life besides the sadness, the grief and missing someone special. A saying that many appreciate is, “Cry when you have to. Laugh when you can.” Although it seems easier to avoid even thinking about the holidays, planning ahead even a little will be helpful. It is helpful because it means we are taking care of ourselves. Grieving is hard work. It is tiring if not exhausting. Sometimes it is helpful to just take a nap. Taking care of ourselves is a gift we give ourselves.

We have choices. It is important to recognize that, decide what we want to do, then communicate that to family members and friends.

The Cost of Appearances By Gregg TeBeest Chaplain

I think that most people would agree that everyone grieves differently. Our grief is uniquely our own and each person expresses their grief uniquely. But do we really embrace every individual expression of grief, even the “negative” one? Though I may share your illness, I may not react as you do. Unlike you I may express my grief with sadness or anger or guilt. those around me think if in my grief I questioned God’s goodness or justice? Would they be shocked or feel uneasy or anxious, unsure of their response? Would they dismiss it saying something like, “Gregg is just not himself right now. He didn’t really mean it. I’m sure he’ll come around when he’s feeling better.” That sounds good, but the problem with their thinking is that I’m pretty sure I really meant it. So how do we respond to illness, our own and others? I believe some ill people stifle feelings that are considered “negative.” They hide feelings of anger, for example, because their faith system does not allow them to lament. Complaining to others or God may reveal a lack of faith in their thinking. So out of fear or guilt, perhaps, they hide behind appearances. I wonder about the cost of appearances. I also believe some ill people hide their feelings because it’s what culture expects. Does not our inbred South Dakota stoicism demand that we keep our feelings in check and suck it up? After all, my father sucked it up and his father before him. So I must suck it up. That’s what many of us were taught in word and deed. “Harold” tells it like this: “When I was diagnosed with cancer, I wanted to be strong for my family. I refused to cry. I said I’ll be all right. But I’m not all right. I feel sad and alone. I don’t even want to get up in the morning. My family asks if I want to talk, but I don’t want to burden them.” So in spite of his need for healing expression, Harold sucks it up. I wonder about the cost of appearances. And then some ill people hide their feelings because everyone loves the “good patient.” The “good patient” is the one who makes people feel better about their illness. They put on the happy face and even joke about their cancer symptoms and treatment. That way everyone involved in their care can praise their courage, optimism,

and strength. They may feel sad and afraid. But no one wants to hear about that. When is the last time you heard someone praised for feeling sad and afraid? Suffering makes people uneasy. So the good patient works up their courage and puts on the happy face. I wonder about the cost of appearances. I am not suggesting that genuine peace through life limiting illness is impossible. Many of the ill I see openly express feelings of joy, contentment, hope, and even happiness. And their stories are worth hearing. But those who are angry, depressed, and frustrated by their illness deserve a hearing as well. They should feel secure in expressing themselves, knowing that they will be affirmed and accepted as they are. Lamenting illness is simply an acknowledgment of the human condition: someday we will all become sick and die. Ill people who deny the expression of “negative” emotion in a sense deny their own humanity. What they need are those who have the courage to join with them in acknowledging the human condition. “When others join them courage and cheer may be the result, not as an appearance to be worked at, but as a spontaneous expression of a common emotion.”

The “good patient” is the one who makes people feel better about their illness. They put on the happy face and even joke about their cancer symptoms and treatment.

fall 2013

I may even doubt my faith and lash out at God. What would


Tough Enough to Wear Pink A Tough Enough to Wear Pink assistance program (PINKAP) is available for uninsured and

underinsured patients to help pay for breast biopsies, breast ultrasounds and lymphedema therapy services received from Brookings Health System. PINKAP also applies to postmastectomy products and services purchased at Brookings Health System/Avera Home Medical Equipment store. The store, on the corner of 22nd Ave and Yorkshire Dr., has trained fitter, Renia Arneson, on staff. Through the sale of t-shirts from the Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign, the Swiftel Center has raised over $30,000 to support cancer patients in the Brookings community. The Swiftel Center works with Brookings Health System Foundation to effectively disburse those funds. As a result, PINKAP was established and the Brookings Health System/ Avera Home Medical Equipment store is now able to provide post-mastectomy products. Application forms for PINKAP are available at Brookings Health System Foundation or the Brookings Health System/Avera Home Medical Equipment store.

Renia Arneson, Garment Fitter

Aiming to Inspire Health Sporting Clays Fundraiser

Over $17,700 in Net Proceeds Raised, Funds Go to Brookings Health System Outreach Specialty Clinic Over 100 hunting and firearm enthusiasts supported Brookings Health System Foundation August 15 at the fourth annual Aiming to Inspire Health sporting clays fundraiser. The event, presented by First Bank & Trust, was held at Medary Creek Hunt Club, rural Aurora, S.D.

“Based upon the initial tally from sponsorships and shooting registrations, the event raised approximately $17,775 in net proceeds, all of which will go to help furnish and equip the new outreach specialty clinic at Brookings Health System’s hospital,” said Foundation Development Officer Barb Anderson.

The new clinic, scheduled for completion fall 2013, will have a separate entrance, three exam rooms, a procedure room and office space for the visiting doctors. The clinic will occupy remodeled space from the former nursing home, Brookview Manor. Hunter Jensen of Brookings walked away with the top youth under 16 shooter award with a score of 23. Rod Brandenburger was the top adult shooter with a score of 42. Both received a $100 Scheels gift card. Second place in the adult category went to Rich Widman, shooting a score of 37. Helsper & Mahlke was the top team with a score of 128. Team members Reed Mahlke, Chad Bortnem, Dustin Kjelden and Robert Winter each received a $75 Scheels gift card. Participants who hit a ghost clay during their round were entered into a drawing. As a result, Daryl Englund, Rick Holm and Carter Shoup each won hunting gear from Kjergaard Sports of Lake Benton, Minn. Allen Gordon won a pair of binoculars when his name was drawn from the 74 early bird deadline registrations. The event also included free hunting dog demonstrations by dog breeder Rod Brandenburger. Topics covered obedience, bird/game pointing, tracking and retriever training. “Our heartfelt thanks go out to all of our sponsors, volunteers and participants who helped make the event a success this year,” said Anderson.

Winners from the fourth annual Aiming to Inspiring Health Fundraiser include, from left to right, Rich Widman, Hunter Jensen, top youth, Daryl Englund, Carter Shoup and Rod Brandenburger, top adult. In addition to First Bank & Trust, event sponsors include Avera Medical Group Brookings, Larson Manufacturing, Mansheim State Farm, Helsper & Mahlke, P.C., Clark Drew Construction, Falcon Plastics, Sodexo Food Services, Horty Elving Architects, Sanford Health Brookings Clinic, HyVee, Twin City Fan, Rude’s Home Furnishings, Loft on the Level, Cubby’s Sports Bar & Grill, Banner Associates, Clites Electric, Kerry’s Sprinklers, Omnicare, Eide Bailly, Pheasant Restaurant, The Exchange, Bankstar Financial, Outlaw Graphics, Back in Motion Chiropractic, Muth Electric, Heartland Vet Clinic, Kreiser’s Inc., Earthbend and Courtesy Plumbing. The event was also supported by in kind contributions from Brookings Radio, Kjergaard Sports, Scheels Sioux Falls, Runnings, Dacotah Bank, Central Business, Minuteman Press, Swiftel Center, Walmart, Brookings Register and Town & Country Shopper. Brookings Health System Foundation works to cultivate philanthropic gifts to support charity health care for those less fortunate; health and wellness education; facility, equipment, and technology upgrades; and other needs as they arise at Brookings Health System. For more information about Brookings Health System Foundation or how you may contribute, please contact Foundation Officer Barb Anderson at (605) 696-8855 or

fall 2013


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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.

V O L U N T E E R S P O T L I G H T : Lee Opdahl Lee Opdahl is a pre-med student at SDSU and has been volunteering for hospice for about one year.

As a student at sdsu, he has been very busy with majors in biology, microbiology and biotechnology and minors in chemistry and psychology. Lee’s hope is to go to medical school.

Volunteerism seems to be just part of what Lee does and who he is. Besides volunteering for hospice, he is also a youth mentor once a week for Brookings County and volunteers at the food shelf in Marshall when he is back home on his parents’ farm near Minneota, Minnesota. His father farms and his mother works for an organization that connects people to needed resources. Lee’s sister is a pharmacist and his brother is a nurse anesthetist. Lee says it is a bit of a mystery as to why he and they chose careers in the medical field. What Lee enjoys most about volunteering is hearing clients’ life stories and hearing about their experiences. He has especially enjoyed listening to older men whose stories remind him of his grandfather. When there’s time for recreation, Lee can be found bow hunting, fishing, including ice fishing, and generally enjoying the outdoors. Lee is a volunteer eager to serve and a welcomed member of the hospice team.

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.

Hospice News Fall 2013