News From Agrace Fall 2013


$2 Million Lead Gift Drives Groundbreaking in Janesville
Service Area Expands to Iowa, Sauk, Columbia & Dodge Counties
Holiday Coping Skills Shared at Remembrance Programs
Agrace Turns 35 – and Celebrates 10 Other Special Numbers
It’s a Sign: CNA Discovers Patient’s Hidden Skill

Charitable Gifts Make Care For All…Possible
Golf Open Results are Better than Par!
Join us for Q&A Learning


Inpatient hospice care in the Janesville area is now just months away, as construction has begun on the new Agrace Center for Hospice & Palliative Care!

In early September, an anonymous donor pledged a $2 million lead gift to help build our new inpatient hospice facility. This gift brought fundraising for the $6.5 million project above the threshold needed to begin construction, and an official groundbreaking was held on September 24.

Our new 21,000 square-foot facility is being built on the city’s northeast side, at 2901 N. Wright Road in Janesville. We anticipate construction will take 10 months. The center will feature 12 inpatient suites for acute hospice care (which means short-term care for urgent/serious symptoms), office space for Agrace’s home-care staff, plus meeting space for grief support groups, volunteer training and community education.

Agrace’s new facility will be the only inpatient hospice center within a 35-mile radius of Janesville.

Residents of surrounding communities will be able to receive our specialized care nearer to their homes and families, in an environment created specifically for end-of-life care. Each patient room will have a homelike feel, with private access to the outdoors and space for visitors to gather and stay overnight by the patient’s side.

The new Agrace Center will create jobs, and we’ll also need to recruit many additional local volunteers to provide companionship for patients and help with food service, gardening, office tasks and other projects.

Gifts of Any Size Help!

We deeply appreciate the generosity of all who have already pledged their support for the Janesville building. We are now working in the community to raise the remaining $2 million needed to complete the new facility, and we invite you to participate! Gifts of any size are welcome and can be pledged over five years. Naming recognition is available for gifts and pledges of $2,500 or more.

To make a donation that will help complete the Agrace Center for Hospice & Palliative Care, you can use the envelope enclosed, visit or call Agrace’s Jayme Roth at (608) 314-2923. Thank you for your generous support of this essential community resource!


Bringing exceptional care and support to patients and their families who are facing a serious illness is central to the Agrace mission. That’s why we have expanded our service area to include Iowa, Sauk, Columbia and Dodge counties. We’re now able to provide all of Agrace’s services to people living in the areas on the map above. And to more efficiently serve patients in these areas, we’ll be opening a small office in Baraboo in mid-November.This expansion brings a new choice to communities where hospice may be underutilized. On average, only 37 percent of Medicare  beneficiaries in Columbia, Sauk and Iowa counties received hospice care in 2011 in the last six months of life, compared with 53 percent  in Dane County that same year. Residents of our new service area can also request Agrace’s Palliative Care Consultation Service, an in-home assessment for people who are struggling with poorly controlled symptoms or emotional stress, and Agrace Care Navigation, a  “coaching” service for people with chronic or serious illnesses who want to remain independent, at home.
Please tell your friends and family in our new service area that Agrace is now an option for them. To refer a patient or ask about our  services, please call (800) 930-2770. If you’re interested in volunteering, please call Agrace Volunteer Services at (608) 327-7163.

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In early November, Agrace will host two Holiday Remembrance programs to remember those who have died and share skills for coping with grief  during the holiday season. Agrace grief support specialists will discuss holiday rituals that may help attendees honor and memorialize special people who have died. Celebrations in Janesville on November 2 and Madison on November 9 are free and open to the public. For details, visit our events calendar at or call (608) 327-7118.


In February, Tracey Kealey, an Agrace certified nursing assistant, began to care for an Agrace patient, Ava,* who is blind and deaf. Ava had lived at the same long-term care center for years, but had been unable to communicate with her caregivers there. One day Tracey wondered whether Ava knew how to read sign language with her hands, like Helen Keller. Tracey had learned this form of signing herself due to a partial hearing loss.

One day, Tracey took Ava’s hand and made the sign for “bathroom,” to which Ava responded by shaking her head. Tracey repeated the sign, and Ava shook her head again, confirming that she understood Tracey’s meaning. Through experimentation, Tracey discovered that Ava also understood the signs for “thirsty” and “pain”. With this discovery, it was possible for Ava to communicate about her most basic care needs for the first time in years. Tracey later learned that Ava also knew signs for several other words, including “coffee”!

“I was just so happy that I found out something about someone we care for,” says Tracey. “To me, this is hospice—this is Agrace.”

*Name has been changed for privacy.


Kristos17For five months, Kristos lived at the Ellen & Peter Johnson HospiceCare Residence at Agrace in Madison. He came to us after having been hospitalized several times over a few months. Kristos’ job did not provide health insurance to cover his hospital stays, and he had no other coverage for medical care.

Although he had no money and no family locally to care for him, Kristos was able to receive residential hospice care at Agrace thanks to our Care for All program. Grateful for this service, Kristos said he “felt love from everyone on his care team, from the housekeepers to the doctors and nurses.” He said he felt “confident, happy and reassured, and totally and absolutely provided for.”

Care for All, Agrace’s charitable care program, has experienced increased demand of almost 300 percent over the past five years. Funded by community donations, this program allows us to provide services to anyone in our community who lacks coverage and demonstrates financial need. In our 35-year history, we have never turned away an eligible patient because of an inability to pay.

By giving to the Susan Weston Care for All Campaign, you can help ensure that all local patients have access to Agrace’s compassionate care, regardless of their ability to pay. We invite you to use the enclosed envelope or donate online at


Golf-OutingThe Agrace Golf Open held September 10 at Hawks Landing in Verona broke records, with 156 golfers raising $83,000! Thank you to our generous sponsors and donors, including our title sponsors, Capitol Bank and Madison Investment Advisors. All proceeds will help Agrace patients and their  families, through programs such as Care for All and grief support groups.

Visit for more information about Agrace’s fundraising events, or call Donor Services at (608) 327-7239.


Agrace’s monthly question-and answer discussions are free and open to the public. Each topic below will be presented at both our Madison and Janesville locations; please call (608) 327-7202 to register.
November 12
2:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Caring for Someone with Alzheimer’s Disease or Dementia
Learn about approaches and communication techniques to use as memory-loss diseases progress, and find out when and how Agrace can help.

November 12
6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.
What You Should Know About Planning a Funeral
Many people are forced into planning a funeral in the midst of grief. Learn about the many aspects and choices involved.

Visit for details on these topics and other educational programs and grief support groups.