A joint venture between Riverwood Healthcare Center and Cuyuna Regional Medical Center, the local hospice program provides multi-disciplinary services to clients and families dealing with an incurable or terminable illness. The program recognizes the end of life as a stage of living and is designed to neither hasten nor postpone it. Programs meet not only the physical needs of the patient, but also the emotional, spiritual and social needs of patients and their families.
The event's golf tournament attracted 126 golfers from across the state, with more than 30 from the McGregor area. Tom Martin, Steve Haugene, Wes Arneson and Mindy Jezierski, representing KKIN, shot a 14 under parâ€"58â€"to win the tournament. However, area golfers participated to support the hospice program and were not overly concerned with their scores. Many cash prizes won by contestants were turned over to HHP.
Bill Carroll, the event chair, surprised the crowd when he volunteered to chair the event again next year. "I said that this was my last year to chair this event, but you got me again for one more year. This year we sold out the tee and green sponsors, and had more golfers than ever. Next year we want to sell out the teams - we want 144 golfers." With that, he encouraged the crowd to please come back next year, and to encourage other teams and diners to attend.
Approximately 220 guests attended the banquet, which featured Brenda Wills, director of HHP, talking about services provided by the hospice program to patients who have six months or less to live. "It's a touching time," said Wills, "and we want to keep patients at home where they want to be in their final days."
With both Aitkin's and Crow Wing's rapidly growing elderly population, the demand for medical treatment and end-of-life care is increasingly important. The local hospice program serves an average of 65 patients in Aitkin and Crow Wing counties annually.
Guest speaker Tim Zuel, a clinical social worker and manager of child protection for Hennepin County, shared his experience with hospice in both Aitkin County and the Veteran's Administration in Minneapolis. His mother and brother were supported by these hospice programs. One evening in 2002, as Zuel was caring for his mother who was dying fom ALS at her home in Aitkin County, he discovered that he personally needed emotional support from hospice. It was 2 a.m. when he called for a hospice nurse and received that support. "The Aitkin community stepped to the plate for my family," he explains, "and I learned that night that hospice is for the survivors as much as for the dying patients."
During the banquet, Aitkin County Sheriff Scott Turner served as emcee and entertained the audience as he chided guests into participating in the live auction. Due to his efforts, bids on the prizes may have reached record highs. A cup of coffee a day for a month at the Beanery sold for $102, a purse full of money brought $701 from the Wilson family, who in turn donated the contents back to hospice.
In addition to proceeds from the golf event and the banquet, grants from Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative, the Kenneth L. Keller Foundation, and the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe totaled $5,500, providing significant support for hospice.
The local hospice program is supported with 24 volunteers who receive special training for hospice. Those interested in learning more about volunteering for the hospice program may call HomeHealth Partnership at (218) 546-2311. – less–ZoomInfo