Ministry Saint Joseph's Hospital

Financial Review

House of the Dove

When it came to the point where Karen Kingsriter’s mother, Ethel Koeshall - at a spry age of 100 - needed around-the-clock nursing care, their options were limited.

A resident of Renaissance Assisted Living in Wisconsin Rapids, Ethel had been extremely active until a small stroke on Easter Sunday, 2011. From that point onward, according to Karen, it was a slow and steady decline.

“She lost her appetite and was in a lot of pain from her arthritis,” said Karen. “By Fall, she was getting confused. She knew something was wrong and pleaded with us for help.”

Hiring an around-the-clock nurse was beyond the family’s financial means. “Then a nurse at the Renaissance said there was a new hospice home in Marshfield, and asked if we would consider that,” Karen said. “We found the facility to be absolutely beautiful, not only because it was new but because of all the kind and compassionate care they provided.”

In its 23 years of existence, the House of the Dove Hospice Home has provided holistic end-of-life care to hundreds of community and area residents. Initially, those services were provided in the former convent of the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother, located just southeast of Ministry Saint Joseph’s Hospital. It was the first hospice home in Wisconsin.

The new home was built through the community’s generosity in a $4.5 million capital campaign. The new House of the Dove, which opened in the spring of 2010, is located on Marshfield’s southwest side. It enables the hospice team to provide a higher level of care, in a more comfortable family-style setting.

“The House of the Dove has been a cornerstone of our community for more than two decades,” said Linda Bodien, vice president of patient care services at Ministry Home Care. “Our staff and volunteers provide the same compassionate care they’ve been providing all these years, but now we have a more spacious facility with greater capabilities and technologies in which to provide that care. We are proud to provide hospice services to anyone who is medically eligible, regardless of their ability to pay.”

In the previous fiscal year, Ministry Saint Joseph’s Hospital provided more than $300,000 in discounted and charity care at the House of the Dove. That figure is expected to rise based on the recent state licensure for acute patient care, which now has increased capacity. That new licensure enables staff to provide the same level of care as a hospital. The House is staffed with a certified registered nurse available at all times, as well as palliative medicine physicians who round daily on those patients requiring acute inpatient care.

“The need for acute and respite care for hospice patients has grown tremendously,” said Trish Thumann, hospice director. “Add to that all the comforts of home, such as larger rooms with private bathrooms and patios, provisions to care for infants and children needing hospice services and space for family gatherings and accommodations, the new House truly leads the way in caring for people during the most difficult times of their lives.”

For Ethel’s family, the House of the Dove was a godsend. “When we finally had to move her to the House in November 2011, she decided to make the best of it,” said Karen. “And she did. She was still walking up until three days before she died. The staff was wonderful. They listened to her needs and were gentle, kind and compassionate. Our family was so grateful that she could be there. It gave us such peace of mind knowing how well she was being cared for at the end of her remarkable life.”