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Zilber family commits additional $1.5 million to Aurora Visiting Nurse Association Hospice services

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Zilber Family Contribution Will Add to Current Hospice and Lead Fund Drive for New Facility

Joseph Zilber today announced a $1.5 million donation to the Aurora Visiting Nurse Association. The Joseph and Vera Zilber Foundation gift was announced during an event at the Wauwatosa residential hospice that bears his family name.

The funds will help support a new hospice in the Milwaukee area and cover additional hospice care at the Aurora VNA Zilber Family Hospice by providing funding for additional beds.

“The Zilber Family Hospice reflects the vision of what end-of-life care can be for families spending the final moments of life with their loved ones,” said Zilber. “Hearing from the many families who have shared positive memories and experiences at this hospice reinforced the value of providing more resources.”

During the Aurora Zilber Family Hospice event, family members who have had a loved one utilize the hospice shared their stories and extended their thanks and gratitude to Mr. Zilber for his generosity and support of hospice care. Since its opening, more than 550 adults and children have found relief from pain and spiritual solace at the Aurora Zilber Family Hospice.

It was an earlier one million dollar gift from the Zilber family that helped to make the residential hospice a reality. The Aurora Zilber Family Hospice has been recognized as a new national model in hospice care. It offers an environment geared around the individual needs of hospice patients and their families and incorporates an educational component unique to hospice care.

“The Zilber family has been a leader in many significant projects throughout the community,” said Sue Ela, president of Aurora’s Metro Region and Aurora VNA president. “Their tremendous generosity helps ensure greater numbers of children and adults can experience end-of-life care with the respect and dignity they deserve.”

The Zilber Family Hospice is the first hospice in southeastern Wisconsin designed to serve both children and adults in a single setting.

“A special element of the Aurora Zilber Family Hospice is a design and décor to meet the needs of children,” Ela said. “The Zilber Family Hospice reflects a model of care that has been developed in conjunction with a variety of partners, including Marquette University and thousands of individuals who have made a financial commitment to the facility.”

As a part of the project, the Visiting Nurse Association and the Marquette University College of Nursing established the Institute for End of Life Care Education. The center serves as a state-of-the art education site for end-of-life care. It is the first time a hospice care center includes such an extensive educational component. Unique elements of the program enable the center to be a national model for better ways to provide end-of-life care.

The Institute for End of Life Care Education provides a new clinical opportunity for undergraduate and graduate nursing students to apply classroom learning from nursing science and other disciplines, such as ethics, theology and culture to help plan and deliver care that meets the needs of dying patients and their families. The hospice approach to care provides students the opportunity to work with a multidisciplinary team.

“Throughout my career, it was important that my development projects set a high standard for others to follow. This hospice reflects that standard. I’m particularly pleased that it’s giving men and women the opportunity to be trained in the concept of hospice care and is helping to meet a tremendous need in our community,” Zilber added.

While the Aurora VNA does not have a specific site or timeline for the second hospice, Ela said that the community need for end-of-life and palliative care in the city of Milwaukee continues to grow. “Joe Zilber’s latest gift gives us a tremendous start toward establishing the additional resources to help with that need,” she added.

The Aurora VNA is the state’s largest provider of hospice home care for children and adults. It is the state’s oldest home health agency and provides services in more than 20 counties in eastern Wisconsin. The VNA joined Aurora Health Care in 1988.

Aurora Health Care is a not-for-profit Wisconsin health care provider and a nationally recognized leader in efforts to improve the quality of health care. Aurora offers services at sites in more than 90 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin.

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Contact: Ron Irwin (414-647-3405)

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