Horizon Hospice to Expand at Columbia St. Mary’s Ozaukee

Dec. 13, 2012

Horizon Home Care & Hospice today announced plans to expand and renovate their in-patient hospice unit at Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital Ozaukee and extend their lease with the hospital an additional 20 years. The expansion is made possible by a $1 million gift from the Lawlis Family Fund through the Greater Milwaukee Foundation.

The project will add 400 square feet to the less than three year- old hospice unit, bringing the total space to 13,400 square feet. Additionally, the size of each patient room will increase nearly 40 square feet. Construction is slated to begin in January and should be completed by May 2013.

“When we first opened the 14-bed unit in 2010, our intention was to utilize the space for three years per our lease while we worked toward our own freestanding facility,” said Mary Haynor, Horizon Home Care & Hospice President and CEO. “But through extensive research and our own experience, we discovered that an in-patient unit is the best approach from both a business and patient/family care perspective. Most hospice patients come from a hospital so if a patient can’t go home, it’s much easier for all involved, physically and as well as emotionally, to move only a few floors than transporting patients to a separate facility.”

Key renovation and expansion highlights for the newly named Lawlis Family Hospice unit will include additional dedicated family spaces and gathering areas; more lighting and windows to bring in natural light; and construction of an outdoor deck. The increased patient room size will allow for more furnishings and amenities, such as refrigerators, and to make patient rooms more comfortable for family and guests to stay for extended periods.

First-hand experiences with losing their own parents and the benefits of hospice care prompted sisters Trish Lawlis Hilbert and Joanne Lawlis Schulz, along with their three siblings, to provide the funding for the unit expansion and upgrades.

“It really opened our eyes to what is done in the end stages of life and what can be done. The hospice people were all so wonderful. They were able to tell us on daily basis how things were going and what’s around the corner. To me that was invaluable,” explained Hilbert.

“You felt like someone was there for you and looking over your shoulder. We were really impressed with the whole hospice concept,” added Schulz. “We realized there was a great need for this type of facility on the North Shore. This is a perfect way to channel some of our foundation’s resources so through our parents’ passing we can touch many, many lives.”

The sisters were introduced to Horizon Hospice through their family foundation’s relationship with Froedtert Hospital, one of Horizon’s partner hospitals. The notion of making an immediate impact with their contribution through the unit expansion rather than a stand-alone facility appealed to both their sense of business and philanthropy.

“Our parents Kirby and Mary Anne were extremely generous and giving with everything they had,” recalled Hilbert. “Because of them and thanks to them we’ve been able to help out a lot of people with what they have left behind.“

“This hospice project is something that’s touched our hearts. We have such a passion for it,” continued Schulz. “As an in-patient unit, it’s financially sustainable today. It was the difference between making this happen now and waiting until 2018 or 2020. The need is now.”

Horizon also plans to explore the possibility of developing in-patient hospice units in other Milwaukee-area hospitals.

About Horizon Home Care and Hospice:
Horizon Home Care & Hospice, a nonprofit organization established in 1990, is the state’s second largest full-service home care agency and hospice. Horizon, in partnership with Columbia St. Mary’s and Froedtert and Community Health, is licensed to provide home care and hospice services, Medicare and Medicaid certified and accredited by The Joint Commission. For more information, please visit www.horizonhch.org.

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