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Zilber family commits $1 million to Visiting Nurse Association of Wisconsin hospice project

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Zilber Family Hospice to be built along Honey Creek Parkway in Wauwatosa

WAUWATOSA, The Joseph and Vera Zilber Foundation today announced a $1 million donation to the Visiting Nurse Association of Wisconsin hospice center in Wauwatosa. The gift was presented during a groundbreaking ceremony for the 18-bed residential hospice, scheduled to be completed at the end of the year. During the ceremony, the Visiting Nurse Association announced the facility will be known as the Zilber Family Hospice, recognizing the contribution of Joseph and Vera Zilber and their family.

“Our family learned a great deal about the importance of hospice when we required hospice services for a family member a number of years ago,” said Marcy Zilber Jackson, daughter of Joseph and Vera Zilber. “We learned it is critical to have this type of end of life care staffed by dedicated professionals that offer families a setting in which to share the final moments of life with their loved ones.”

“The Zilber family’s generosity enables us to continue finding innovative solutions that lead to a new standard in end-of-life care,” said G. Edwin Howe, president and CEO of Aurora Health Care. “The Zilber Family Hospice represents a new national model in hospice care.”

“The Zilber family has been a leader in many significant projects throughout the community,” said Susan Ela, president of the Visiting Nurse Association and senior clinical vice president of Aurora Health Care. “Their gift offers a lasting legacy to the Zilbers’ contribution to our quality-of-life and ensures greater numbers of children and adults can experience end-of-life care with the respect and dignity they deserve.”

The Zilber Family Hospice is the first hospice in southeastern Wisconsin designed to serve both children and adults in a single setting.

A major consideration in the design of the 30,000-square-foot facility is ensuring that family members are part of the program of care. This includes larger rooms to enable family members to stay with their loved one, as well as family gathering rooms.

“The Zilber Family Hospice will offer a level of care that people want and deserve during this stage of life,” Ela said. “The hospice will provide for the comfort and respect of patients in a setting that also offers emotional support for a patient’s family.

“As we planned the design and décor of the hospice, we paid special attention to meeting the needs of children,” Ela said. “The Zilber Family Hospice reflects a model of care that has been developed in conjunction with a variety of partners, including Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Marquette University and thousands of individuals who have made a financial commitment to the facility.”

“Our family believes that this facility will set a high standard for others to follow, will provide an unlimited number of opportunities for men and women to be trained in the concept of hospice care, and can help meet the need for such care in virtually every community of our country,” Zilber Jackson added.

As a part of the project, the Visiting Nurse Association and the Marquette University College of Nursing have formed a collaborative partnership to establish the Institute for End of Life Care Education. The center will serve as a state-of-the art education site for end-of-life care. It is the first time a hospice care center will include such an extensive educational component. Unique elements of the program will enable the center to be a national model for better ways to provide end-of-life care.

The Institute for End of Life Care Education will provide a new clinical opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to apply classroom learning from various disciplines, such as nursing, medicine, social work and theology, to help plan and deliver care that meets the needs of dying patients and their families.

The Visiting Nurse Association is the state’s largest provider of hospice home care for children and adults. In addition to hospice home care, the VNA operates the Milwaukee Hospice Residence, 4067 N. 92nd Street, Wauwatosa.

The Visiting Nurse Association of Wisconsin is the state’s oldest home health agency and provides services in more than 20 counties in eastern Wisconsin. The VNA joined Aurora Health Care in 1988.

Aurora Health Care is a not-for-profit Wisconsin health care provider and a nationally recognized leader in efforts to improve the quality of health care. Aurora offers services at sites in 80 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin.

Contact: Ron Irwin

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