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New hospice house to serve 12-county area

Editor's note: The following story was written by Anne Dauphinais, intern at

The Independent in Parkers Prairie, and is reprinted with permission.

July 1 marked the beginning of a partnership campaign with Lakeland Hospice Home Care and the District 5M9 Lions to help fund a hospice house in Fergus Falls that will serve terminally ill persons and their families.

Lakeland Hospice was founded in Fergus Falls in 1984 as the area's first provider of hospice care to people diagnosed with a terminal illness. Currently, Lakeland Hospice provides healthcare to more than 65 patients per day in their homes.

The hospice house will provide a place where people unable to receive necessary care in their home will be given exceptional end-of-life healthcare.

It will provide round-the-clock, clinical and family support, combining state of the art medical technology with all the comforts of home. The Hospice House provides the patient's family with a place to stay as well as bereavement services and compassionate care and support during their difficult time.

The goal of the hospice house is to provide extraordinary healthcare to every patient, promoting independence, comfort, and dignity through all stages of life. Hospice isn't about dying; it's about living each day to the fullest.

Cicely Saunders, the founder of the modern hospice movement said, "At the end of the day, you matter because you are you. You matter to the last moment of your life, and we will do all we can not only to help you die peacefully, but to live life until you die."

The house will be this region's first residential hospice facility. The closest facility of its kind is more than 120 miles from Fergus Falls.

People in the counties of Otter Tail, Grant, Clay, Becker, Wadena, Wilkin, Traverse, Douglas, Stevens, Pope, Swift and Roberts County, SD will benefit from the care hospice house has to offer, according to Lions members.

The hospice house will be staffed 24 hours a day by an interdisciplinary team that includes nurses, social workers, home health aides, bereavement counselors, chaplains and volunteers.

The house will include an eight-bed residence, large great room with fireplace, an aquarium, piano, sunroom, chapel, kitchen, dining areas, library, rec room, and beautiful gardens overlooking Opperman Lake and the city of Fergus Falls.

Hospice is a benefit of most insurance, as well as Medicare and Medicaid to cover the actual end-of-life care provided by Lakeland Hospice, including all visits from nurses, home health aides, social workers, chaplains and volunteers as well as all the medications, equipment and supplies related to the patient's diagnosis.

Thanks to the support of the communities and families they serve, hospice house is able to care for every eligible patient, regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. Room and board is on a private pay basis.

District 5M9 Lions have set a goal to raise $75,000 for this $2.2 million project with the help of clubs in District 5M9 as well as surrounding districts. Once raised, the Lion's Club International Foundation (LCIF) will provide a matching grant of $75,000 that will also go to the hospice house.

The LCIF has provided grants for local projects in this district including the rebuilding of the Parkers Prairie City Hall. More than $600,000 has already been raised to aid this project through other organizations.

Tammy Anderson, Lakeland Hospice Foundation Fund development coordinator, is available to make presentations and answer questions about the hospice house project. You can contact her at (218) 998-1423 or e-mail her at

To donate to this influential campaign, contact your local Lion's Club or send donations to Bremer Bank, Attention Lion Jesse Mark, 2330 College Way, Fergus Falls, MN 56537. Make checks payable to Hospice House.