In the two years since Michael Bischoff was diagnosed with
brain cancer, there have been times of overwhelming worry and stress. One he
recalls vividly is when he was told that the tumor had returned after his
initial phase of treatment.
While he had every confidence in his medical team, Bischoff
couldn’t help feeling that something was missing in his care. “Serious illness
affects how you think about your life, your purpose and your relationships. I
didn’t have a name for what I was looking for, but I knew I needed to find some
way of integrating what was most important to me to my medical treatment,” said
Since then, he’s been introduced to LifeCourse,
an innovative approach to late life care. It has made a difference in how he
lives day to day, and how he thinks about his medical care going forward.
LifeCourse helps individuals and families who face the
challenges that accompany serious illnesses such as cancer, heart failure and
dementia. Trained professionals called care guides visit patients every month.
They help patients identify what matters most to them, and assist in connecting
patients with medical and nonmedical resources.
Another challenging transition for Bischoff was when the
clinical trial he was enrolled in ended. That meant he would no longer be in
active treatment. “I did not have the confidence that I would be fine, and I
wanted to do things that would support my health as much as possible,” said
Bischoff. Talking with his care guide helped him sort through his uneasiness
and make a plan. He made it a priority to spend time along the Mississippi
River every day. “There is research showing that spending time in nature is
good for overall health, and against the vacuum of no longer receiving medical
treatment, it gave me a sense of doing something positive,” he said.
Meeting regularly with the LifeCourse care guide has helped
Bischoff and his wife feel less overwhelmed and isolated in the midst of a
serious illness. “It’s helped us clarify our priorities, and it makes me feel
confident that our priorities will be considered and integrated into our
“My wish is that every person with a serious illness could
have a similar opportunity to bridge what’s important to them with their
The Bischoff family, left to right: Michael, Grace, Isaiah and Jenny, along with Bella in Grace’s arms.
Help us advance late life care with a gift to support LifeCourse. Your donation will help make care guides available to more patients, share best practices in late life care, and provide training to expand these practices in other communities.