Cattails Cottage is a home away from home for cancer patients going through treatment

Updated: Apr. 4, 2023 at 6:00 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MARSHFIELD, Wis. (WEAU) - At times, certain cancer treatments require patients to stay close to the hospital for an extended period of time.

Cattails Cottage is a short walk or drive from Marshfield Medical Center in Marshfield and is meant to be a home away from home.

Sherri Kaiser is the assistant manager of the Oncology Department and of Cattails Cottage. She says sometimes patients can stay at the facility anywhere from one night to six months.

“Whether it’s surgery, hyperbaric treatment, outpatient chemo treatments, inpatient chemo treatments, and of course, our transplant patients as well. They can stay here free of charge as long as they live more than 40 miles away,” Kaiser said.

Kaiser says the 11-room, two-floor converted nursing home lifts some of the stress that comes with having to stay near the hospital.

“Financially, it is a huge burden for patients and their caregivers when they’re here and having that expense of a hotel stay,” Kaiser said. “So having this facility available to them really does help that gap.”

Over 500 people have used Cattails Cottage since it opened in 2020.

That includes Shirley Rihn who was diagnosed with stage four Lymphoma in 2021. She stayed from December 2022 through January 2023 and describes having this option as a relief.

“We were so happy to hear that because we were really worried about trying to find a motel close that was clean that we could feel comfortable in,” Rihn said.

Rihn was also happy to be able to have her husband by her side.

“It was a big relief for me to have him there and a lot of comfort. We’re very close. So we’ve never been separated for very long in our married life,” Rihn said.

Kaiser says most times, a hospital room cannot accommodate a caregiver staying with the patient.

“They’re coming here having to stay here for long-term treatment or surgery. A family member needs to stay here long term,” Kaiser said. “They need someplace to stay. Hospital rooms don’t accommodate having a, you know, a guest or somebody staying in there unless it is absolutely necessary.”

From furnished bedrooms to a fully stocked kitchen to regularly cleaned shared bathrooms and common areas, Cattails Cottage offers peace of mind after a long day of treatment.

If Rihn could say anything to those that cared for her there, it’s thank you.

“You don’t know how much it meant to me to have you to be so caring and to take care of me the way you did without asking anything in return and I would just like to give everybody a big hug,” Rihn said.

There is a referral process to be eligible to stay at Cattails Cottage.

Patients are able to stay there for free thanks to donations.

Kaiser says they are in the process of setting up another building close to the hospital called Hope Lodge for even to be able to serve even more people.

To learn more about Cattails Cottage or to donate, click here.