Palliative Care in Marshfield
A Leader in Palliative and Hospice Care
Ministry Saint Joseph’s Hospital has been a leader in the field of palliative care for many years. Opening one of the first ever Hospice Units in the state in the early 1980’s, Ministry Saint Joseph’s offered a place and type of care for those dying in the hospital setting. Although hospice was considered outside the traditional work provided by a hospital, it was within the mission of the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother. Sister Rita Adlkofer, SSM, an experienced critical care nurse, became the first manager of the Hospice Unit. Sister Rita and the hospice team were instrumental in preparing the groundwork to expand hospice home care services for area residents. Her further efforts became a reality in 1989 when Ministry Saint Joseph’s opened the House of the Dove Hospice Home in Marshfield, one of the only two such programs in the nation at the time. The new facility provided an alternative “home” specifically designed to meet the medical and residential needs of individuals receiving hospice home care services. Hospice, now under Ministry Home Care Services, no longer has a unit in the hospital but provides services to patients with terminal illness in their place of residence which may be the House of the Dove, their own home, nursing home, or group home.
In the mid-to late-90’s, other visionaries within Ministry Saint Joseph’s moved forward in innovative care by transitioning the former Hospice Unit into a Palliative Care Program. The continued growth of palliative care and palliative medicine consultation was reflected in the hospital’s philosophical goal regarding end-of-life care: not only to help people live well, but to achieve the best possible quality of life and relief of symptoms and suffering for patients and families affected by advanced progressive disease. While palliative care and hospice would later become two different services and agencies, they continue to work together to serve patients and families with advanced and/or terminal disease.