Agrace Hospice & Supportive Care Opens Adult Day Services Center

Agrace Hospice & Supportive Care is opening an adult day service center that will provide an array of support and clinical services to aging, chronically ill and dying populations and their families in the Madison, Wisc., and surrounding areas.

Agrace is a community-based hospice and palliative care provider headquartered in Madison, Wisc., with offices located in three other cities throughout the southern region of the state. Agrace serves a total 11,000 square miles of smaller communities, mid-sized towns and the City of Madison.

Set to open in spring this year, the Agrace Adult Day Center will provide drop-in senior care to patients and family members in need of assistance throughout its service regions. According to Agrace’s CEO Lynne Sexton, a lack of these services throughout the Madison, Wisc., region was a common denominator that sparked the center’s build.


“As part of our analysis, we studied other markets of similar size, but with greater utilization of adult day services. Our conclusion was that there is significant unmet need,” Lynne Sexten, CEO of Agrace Hospice & Supportive Care, told Hospice News in an email. “Ultimately, we narrowed in on the greater Madison market for our first foray into this line of business.”

The adult day service center marks the first of several endeavors in Agrace’s pipeline as the organization branches out further as a post-acute health care system, according to Sexten.

Demographic tailwinds are another key driver for innovation. Adults 65 and older accounted for 17.5% of Wisconsin’s overall population during 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which reported that 11.6% of this same age demographic resided in the city of Madison. The Badger State’s population of seniors 60 and older was outpacing growth of other age groups in 2012 and projected to increase with an uptick of nearly 36% by 2030.


This population represents an overall growing demand for adult care and services as patients transition throughout the health care continuum.

As Agrace’s chief development officer, Marcia Whittington, told a local news outlet, the hospice and palliative care provider is seeing “a growing population of seniors who want independence” and “caregivers who absolutely need a break [and] a safe place” for their family members.

The center offers seniors companionship, mentally stimulating and physical activities, meals, and other add-on services such as transportation and assistance with activities of daily living. Adults participate in different therapies, crafts, board games, chair yoga, and video games like Wii sports.

According to Sexten, the adult day services center is adopting a medical model that will also allow staff to administer medications to clients as needed and provide other clinical oversight.

“Our decision to move into the adult day space was prompted by our experience in our non-medical home care company, Age at Home,” said Sexten. “While providing caregiver services, it became clear that many of our clients wanted more opportunities for socialization, and their family members wanted more choices in order to get a break from taking care of their loved ones. This last bit is particularly important given the increasing incidence of Alzheimer’s and dementia throughout our service area.”

An important design feature of the new adult day service center incorporates a sense of nostalgia with 1950s-themed décor throughout the center, including a diner and a movie theatre. Various activities aimed at slowing the progression of dementia and reducing cognitive decline are also part of the center’s services.

The adult day service center will have the initial capacity to care for 24 adults after it opens, with an eventual goal of serving more than 60 seniors. In addition to building costs of the new facility, additional implementation expenses included software installation and securing additional staff. Despite an upfront price tag, the center’s operations are anticipated to build revenue and reduce costs over time, as well as allowing Agrace to break into wider untapped markets.

“A benefit to having this be part of Agrace’s family of businesses is the Adult Day Center’s ability to access back office support functions like human resources, IT and finance,” Sexten told Hospice News. “This allows the center to have lower indirect costs. We strive to be an indispensable partner to a number of large health systems and [continuing care retirement communities(CCRCs)], crafting unique agreements in order to help them achieve their missions. We believe our approach will also make Agrace an essential part of payers’ provider networks.”

Agrace also recently opened a memory care suite in its Fishburn, Wisc., inpatient facility earlier this year for patients who were no longer able to receive care in their homes. A rising number of dementia patients are choosing to elect hospice. In 2017, 15.6% of hospice patients had dementia as their principal diagnosis, according to the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO).

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