Coming home with hospice care

Dorothea Dahlen and her family were thankful for the care Winneshiek Medical Center Hospice provided their family at end of her mother’s life. Dorothea (seated) is pictured with WMC Hospice nurses Lynnette Kruse, RN, BSN (center) and Jill Shindelar, RN (right).
Dorothea Dahlen recalls her mother, Doly Lynch, dressing up in her wedding gown on her wedding anniversary. She and her husband, Tom, enjoyed their special night out each year.

Doly Lynch loved to be home. In her bustling house, she and her husband, Tom, raised nine children in a time when everything was made from scratch and a summer pool pass was the highlight of the year. Though the Lynch family sometimes had to be creative to make ends meet, there was enough love for everyone, and their doors were always open to anyone who needed a warm meal or a friendly hug.

Even when Doly faced cancer, and treatments were no longer effective, she wanted to be home. Fortunately, the family had heard of WMC Hospice, and knew that hospice would provide the care Doly needed in the place she felt most comfortable.

“Hospice gave us a gift – they let us bring her home,” says Dorothea Dahlen, Doly and Tom’s middle daughter. The family built a ramp to Doly’s front door, arranged for a hospital bed on the main level, and coordinated their schedules to care for their mother. Dorothea says, “Under the attentive care of the hospice nurses, at least two of her children or their families were with her around the clock.”

What is Hospice?

Hospice is a special kind of care that focuses on a person’s quality of life after being diagnosed with a terminal illness. Hospice provides pain management, symptom control, psychosocial support, and spiritual care to patients and their families when a cure is not possible.

Nancy Haberichter, nurse manager of Winneshiek Medical Center Home Health and Hospice says, “The mission of Winneshiek Medical Center Hospice is to provide end-of-life care in partnership with patients, families and their health care providers. Working together, we can provide compassionate care while ensuring comfort, continued dignity and a good quality of life.”

And with such an active family, Doly never lacked for quality life experiences. Dorothea recalls the one thing that would divert Doly from her endless household chores was the opportunity to rock a baby to sleep. “Mom always had time to read stories to the children at nap time or before bed, and would never pass up an opportunity to rock the babies to sleep – her own, or her grandchildren. She understood what was truly important.” Dorothea also remembers her parent’s annual anniversary night out. She says, “After feeding all of the kids, Mom and Dad would dress up in their wedding clothes and head out the door. We loved seeing Mom in her wedding dress each year, and counting the many buttons on the back!”

Dorothea says, “The name ‘Mom’ is such a small word for all that she was to us. I am thankful that hospice was there during her final days. They made it possible for her family to help her, after all her years of caring for us.” Dorothea adds, “There is really nothing more important than family – Mom knew that, and passed it on to all of us.”

Hospice services are available to anyone with a life-limiting illness, regardless of their ability to pay. Winneshiek Medical Center Hospice serves Winneshiek, Allamakee and portions of Howard, Chickasaw, Fayette and Clayton counties. Anyone can refer a person diagnosed with a terminal illness to Winneshiek Medical Center Hospice. Hospice will consult the patient’s primary physician for approval. For more information about Winneshiek Medical Center Hospice services, please call 563-387-3024 or visit us online at

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