Thursday, January 30, 2014
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From left: Angela Wood, R.N.; Melissa McCulloch, LSW; Shelley Gray, R.N.; Mary Bretscher, M.D.; and foundation director Marty Ahrends

Abraham Lincoln Healthcare Foundation supports hospice

Donor gifts make hospice patient wishes come true, help families cope with grief

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[January 30, 2014]  A check representing collective donor gifts of $10,739 from the Abraham Lincoln Healthcare Foundation's Dr. Wayne J. Schall Hospice Fund was recently presented to Memorial Home Services staff who work with Logan County patients and their families.

The memorial and Light Up A Life contributions from local donors will help promote a bereavement support group and support the final wishes of local hospice patients.

Memorial Home Services is a not-for-profit affiliate of Memorial Health System and serves 14 central Illinois counties.

Dr. Mary Bretscher, associate medical director for Memorial Home Services Hospice, provides medical guidance to the Lincoln-area hospice team and consults with primary care physicians to coordinate hospice care services.

Shelley Gray, R.N., says she "loves the families, pharmacies, physicians and hospital in the Lincoln community." As part of her daily routine, Gray visits hospice patients in their Logan and Mason County homes to help make their final days, weeks and even months as pain-free and rewarding as possible.

Gray says that the gifts from ALHF will be used to support a bereavement support group, which meets from 5 to 6:30 p.m. the second Thursday of every month in the Steinfort Room at Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital.

The gifts also will help grant wishes for local patients as part of the Memorial Medical Center Foundation's Sharing Wishes Fund. Wishes granted to Logan County patients have included a ride in a hot air balloon, a laptop needed to Skype with far-away family members, a hearing device, and a haircut and special dinner. Hospice staff get to know the patients and their desires and then submit applications to the Sharing Wishes Fund to make those wishes a reality.

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According to Marty Ahrends, executive director of the Abraham Lincoln Healthcare Foundation, the Lincoln hospital started its own hospice program in the late 1980s and named it in memory of Dr. Wayne J. Schall. Though the Schall Hospice program at ALMH merged with Visiting Nurses Association of Central Illinois (now known as Memorial Home Services) in the mid-1990s, the community continued to support the Schall Hospice Fund.

More than $529,000 from 6,000 donors has since been donated to the fund. In 2004, the local hospice advisory group recommended that Schall funds purchase low-air-loss mattresses and other items that hospice patients would use in their homes. Later the group approved the renovation of a hospice respite care room at the former ALMH facility and voted to use funds for pain medications that keep local hospice patients comfortable during their final months.

Gifts for the Schall Hospice Fund can be sent to the Abraham Lincoln Healthcare Foundation, 200 Stahlhut Drive in Lincoln. For more information, contact the foundation at 605-5006 or visit

[Text from file received from the Abraham Lincoln Healthcare Foundation]

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