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Aurora Visiting Nurse Association of Wisconsin Zilber Family Hospice dedicated

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

First patients expected March 14 at residential hospice for children and adults

The Aurora Visiting Nurse Association of Wisconsin Zilber Family Hospice was dedicated today with a blessing and a ceremonial lighting of the hospice to signal a new era in hospice care.

The 18-bed hospice residence along the Honey Creek Parkway in Wauwatosa offers a home-like environment for the terminally ill, with large rooms that enable family members to stay with loved ones and participate in their care. It is the first hospice in metropolitan Milwaukee to care for adults and children in the same facility.

“Our compassionate professionals will offer a level of care that people deserve during this stage of life, and provide comfort and dignity in a setting that is more cost-effective than an acute-care hospital. This quiet, wooded area offers an atmosphere ideal to the hospice experience,” said Sue Ela, R.N., president of Aurora VNA and senior clinical vice president of Aurora Health Care.

Marcy Zilber Jackson, daughter of Joseph and Vera Zilber, the family for whom the hospice is named, said: “When our family required hospice services, we learned it was critical to have dedicated professionals and a serene place to share the final moments of life with loved ones. This facility will set a high standard for others to follow.”

The Aurora VNA Zilber Family Hospice will serve patients of all ages, including:

  • Patients with complex symptoms or pain that cannot be managed at home.
  • Patients whose families need a respite from care-giving responsibilities.
  • Patients with a primary caregiver in the home who needs support.
  • Patients who live alone.

“One of the unique aspects of the residential hospice design is that it enables us to focus on the individual needs of patients and family members,” said Ela. “Larger patient rooms allow family members to stay with their loved one, family lounges, a resource center, and sun rooms are incorporated throughout the residential hospice to establish a feeling of ‘home’ that enables families to share a positive end of life experience.”

Aurora Health Care has collaborated with health and community leaders to provide leading-edge care at the Aurora VNA Zilber Family Hospice. Aurora and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin partnered to make this the first area hospice to serve children and adults.

“As we planned the hospice, Aurora paid special attention to meeting the needs of children. The pediatric rooms recognize a child’s need for play and include an additional bed for a parent to stay with the child,” said Cinthia Christensen, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Children’s Hospital.

The Aurora VNA has established a learning center at the Zilber Family Hospice in collaboration with the Marquette University College of Nursing Institute for End of Life Care Education. Unique elements of the program will make the center a national model for better ways to provide hospice care.

“Undergraduate and graduate students will have a rare opportunity to apply classroom learning from nursing, medicine, social work and pastoral care, to help plan and deliver care that meets the needs of dying patients and their families,” said Lea Acord, PhD, dean of the Marquette University College of Nursing.

Wendy and Bob Bosworth, community volunteers, chaired the Aurora VNA’s philanthropy campaign for the project. “We were delighted with the positive community response to increase hospice care opportunities for the Milwaukee area, and greatly appreciate the generous support of more than 1,500 individuals and organizations in funding this wonderful project,” Wendy Bosworth said.

The Aurora Visiting Nurse Association of Wisconsin is the most comprehensive source of home care services in eastern Wisconsin and the state’s largest provider of hospice home care for children and adults, including the Milwaukee Hospice Residence in Wauwatosa. In 1988, the VNA joined Aurora Health Care, a not-for-profit Wisconsin health care provider and a national leader in efforts to improve the quality of health care. Aurora offers care at sites in more than 80 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin.


Contact:  Ron Irwin (414-647-3405) or Sue Pierman (414-647-6432)

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