Hospice Alliance is at the forefront of using complementary therapies to provide the best quality of care for the whole person – physically, spiritually and emotionally.

“There is great effort to make someone’s end-of-life story be filled with meaningful moments.”
— Trish Koeppel (volunteer)


Essential oils have many effects on the body, mind and spirit with hospice patients perhaps most benefiting from the peace and comfort the therapy provides.

Since sense of smell is tied to memory and emotions, Aromatherapy can evoke good memories and have a positive psychological response with our patients. Sometimes, patients who are agitated and unable to express themselves become calm and restful when aromatherapy oils are used. It can help control pain, stress and anxiety. Often simply smelling a certain fragrance can take a patient back to positive experiences throughout his or her life.

Benevolent Touch Therapy

All Hospice Alliance patients have the opportunity to experience Benevolent Touch, a form of light touch massage therapy as part of their hospice care. The entire Hospice Alliance staff and all volunteers who interact with patients have been trained in Benevolent Touch, a new type of therapy especially beneficial for patients with dementia or sensory loss due to aging.

Benevolent Touch therapy consists of 10 techniques, beginning with massaging shoulders, back, hands, head and/or feet using light squeezes and flat palm circle movements

Benevolent Touch has been shown to:

  • Reduce feelings of anxiety
  • Reduce feeling of loneliness and sensory deprivation
  • Build trust and feeling of safety
  • Improve relationships by increasing feelings of affection
  • Reduce agitation and restlessness
  • Improve circulation, energy level and the ability to sleep

The theory behind Benevolent Touch is that even though the mind deteriorates, the body remembers.

Dance/Movement Therapy

Hospice Alliance is proud to be the only provider in Southeast Wisconsin offering Dance/Movement Therapy as part of individualized care and in group settings. Dance/Movement Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses movement to further the emotional, cognitive, physical and social integration of the individual.

The therapy can be offered one-to-one or in a group setting, helping patients – particularly those who are non-verbal – connect mind, body and spirit.

Dance/Movement Therapy has been shown to:

• Enhance sense of self-esteem
• Improve interaction and socialization
• Decrease muscle tension and increase coordination
• Increase range of movement potential
• Gain awareness of emotional state
• Decrease feelings of grief, depression, anger and anxiety
• Improve sense of fulfillment, through self-expression

A variety of music (including the patient’s musical favorites) and colorful props, along with expressive, improvisational dance movements are utilized.

Patients who are immobile or have difficulty moving can still benefit from Dance/Movement Therapy, as techniques include deep breathing and the exploration of micro movements. Attunement, through mirroring a patient’s body posture or providing touch, is also a common form of therapeutic movement.

Pet Therapy

Pet Therapy is a guided interaction between an individual and a trained animal. It also involves the animal’s handler. The purpose of Pet Therapy is to help a patient cope with health issues. Pet Therapy builds on the pre-existing human-animal bond. With this natural relationship, pet therapy can ad in progress towards a patient’s goals of improved physical, social, emotional and cognitive functioning.

Some of the medically documented benefits of Pet Therapy have been noted in areas like: lowering blood pressure, easing physical and emotional pain, improved memory, increased physical abilities, decreased anxiety and loneliness and at times improved interactions with others. There’s nothing like a visit from a four-legged friend to distract patients from their current situation and to brighten their days with a smile.