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Jill B's Story

  • Category: West Burlington Patient Stories

With all of the perils and challenges of 2020, it is difficult to find positive news to share. Today, we are bringing you that news regarding your staff at Great River Hospice House!

In October of 2019 in San Diego, my brother was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma and received a dire long-term outlook. Having had a wonderful experience with our parents, Holly (2018) and Kay (2016) Wagner at the hospice house, Mark chose to come to Burlington to receive care after devastating chemotherapy treatments. After nearly two months and much TLC at the hospice house, we were able to return to his California home for nearly ten months! What a great recovery for him!

Unfortunately, in November of 2020, he was declining rapidly and, again, chose to return to (in his words) “the best nurses and their assistants in the country” at Great River Hospice House. The expertise and caring nature of the staff were phenomenal during his final days before he passed away on November 23.

We are indebted to all of the employees at the hospice house, but would like to commend several people who assisted in such a pleasant end-of-life experience. With both visits, Janelle was instrumental in assuring a place for Mark at your facility. She worked diligently with Light Bridge Hospice (California) and Angel Med Flight to assure every detail was covered. She truly went above and beyond to assure my brother was safe and secure in each leg of his journey! Standing right behind her was Ashley, our social worker, who attended to every request we might have had. Wearing a smile on her face, she constantly checked on Mark as well as family members on most days.

Two other gentlemen were also a positive force for Mark. Dr. Carlson made numerous visits to see him and always presented a caring and concerned approach with Mark. Dean Graber was also a constant presence for my brother. When he entered his room, Mark’s face seemed to light up for the visit. Furthermore, Mark chose Dean to conduct his graveside services.

Last but not least were the nurses – Marissa, Sue, Anna, Jen, Ally, Joyce and their assistants – Lisa, Bobbie, Amy, Jen, Helen, and Brenda. All of these ladies were a model of professionalism combined with their caring demeanor. They had just the right touch in attending to my brother’s needs!

Sometimes we forget to thank those wonderful human beings who have the special talents so necessary for the success of the hospice house. We hope this letter will be one way to show our appreciation to so many who cared for Mark! Whenever we are asked about Great River Hospice House, we respond with a huge smile and remark, “There is no better place in this county to receive the finest palliative care!”

Thank you again!
Jill (Wagner) Bowers and husband, George