Our Services

Our focus at Iowa City Hospice is to provide services that bring comfort, peace and dignity to our patients with incurable illnesses, and their families.

What is hospice?

Hospice is a specialized type of care to improve quality of life for a seriously ill person by addressing their physical, emotional and spiritual pain through a holistic approach to treatment. The care comes to the patient, whether they are in their own home, a hospital or a long-term care facility.

Hospice provides support to the patient and their family when curative treatment has been exhausted and the life prognosis is six months or less.

Who needs hospice?

Hospice care is appropriate for an individual who is terminally ill and not likely to recover.

What are hospice services?

Families who come to Iowa City Hospice for help receive services customized to their needs. These services can include:

  • Help with bathing and personal care

    Many people feel better after a bath. Shampooed hair that is nicely styled and a good shave or a little makeup can do wonders for self-esteem. Seriously ill individuals, however, are often unable to bathe or groom themselves.

    Assisting another person in and out of the tub or shower can be physically demanding. When a family member tries to provide this care, they run the risk of injuring the loved one or themselves. Our professional nurse aides have been trained to safely move people weighing 100 pounds or more.

    Having one of our aides visit two or three times a week to help with bathing and grooming relieves family members of worry and risk.

    At Iowa City Hospice, we know there are many things that only family members can provide. By letting our aides help with tasks such as bathing and grooming, family members can focus on spending time with their loved one.

  • Home visits several times a week

    Whether the patient lives at home or in an assisted living or nursing home facility, members of our staff come to the bedside several times each week. A nurse may visit to check on the patient’s condition, answer questions, and recommend changes in medication, diet, equipment, or supplies.

    Depending on the needs of the patient or family, other visitors may include nurse aides, a social worker, a nondenominational chaplain, and/or a music therapist. These professionals offer important advice and support to family and friends who are delivering day-to-day care. We also have specially trained volunteers who can stay and visit with the patient so family caregivers can take a much-needed break.

  • Management of pain and other difficult symptoms

    Our staff is trained in “palliative care,” a branch of medicine that focuses on easing pain and discomfort. In palliative medicine, “pain” can include physical, emotional and spiritual distress. As a result, our team is holistic in its approach.

    When our staff feels the best remedy for a patient is medication, we will ask the doctor for a prescription. But other times the remedy may be to change a sleeping position, modify diet, or simply talk through an emotional issue and gain clarity on a difficult family concern.

  • Emotional and spiritual support

    Serious illness brings up many difficult questions and fears, worries and concerns.

    Iowa City Hospice staff has received special training to help people address these issues. Our social workers and nondenominational chaplains can meet with the patient or the entire family. They can help everyone come to a better understanding of the situation and determine how to meet everyone’s needs with grace and love.

  • 24-hour assistance and advice

    Patients of Iowa City Hospice and their families are encouraged to call the office 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We have professionals available to answer your questions. It is not necessary to wait until morning if your loved one is in pain.

    You call and we respond. If it’s something we can help with over the phone, great. If not, our staff will come to your home to check the patient, offer recommendations, and make sure you are comfortable with the treatment being suggested.

  • Patient and family caregiver education

    With all the rush and commotion in the doctor’s office, it’s not always easy to remember everything you’ve been told – or even what you wanted to ask.

    Our nurses are available to answer your questions. In the comfort of your home, our staff can explain the disease and the medical issues that surround it. They understand the day-to-day impact of living with your loved one’s condition: the symptoms, side effects of treatment and progression of the illness.

    We’re here to help in any way we can. Even in the context of an incurable condition, knowing what to expect helps many patients and families relax and feel less anxious about the process.

  • Coordination of multiple services

    Pharmacies, doctors, equipment suppliers, home visits… it can be mind boggling to juggle all the different services and providers your loved one may need in order to stay comfortable.

    Our staff will coordinate multiple services so that caregivers can concentrate on their loved one’s daily needs without worrying about paperwork, shopping for providers, arranging for physician orders, etc.

  • Help for family caregivers

    At Iowa City Hospice, we know that family members are valuable members of the caregiving team. Their special connection helps the patient feel comfortable and safe.

    But we also realize family caregivers are undergoing a very stressful and difficult time. Our goal is to support them, emotionally and physically, so their health is not compromised.

    Our social workers and chaplains are available to help the family as they process the powerful issues that often arise when a loved one is seriously ill. We have volunteers who can come to the home for a few hours and visit with the patient so family members can have time to themselves. This is necessary so that family caregivers are able to maintain their own strength and health.

    We can also arrange for respite care for a patient, to give the caregiver a much needed break from the demands of caregiving. Respite care may be utilized for a patient when the caregiver has to go out of town overnight or is sick themselves.

What are bereavement services?

  • Bereavement support and counseling

    Grieving the loss of a loved one can be a painful, isolating and lonely time. Iowa City Hospice’s grief support services are available to anyone who is grieving the loss of a loved one, regardless of whether the person was in hospice care.

    We offer a variety of grief support services, including grief education, special events and bereavement groups for children, youth and their parents/caregivers. A full listing of our Bereavement Support services can be found here.

    For more information, please contact a member of our hospice team at 800-897-3052, toll-free, or info@iowacityhospice.org. We would be honored to serve you.

  • Additional Support

    The Johnson County Crisis Center offers a free Suicide Survivors Support Group on the first Thursday of each month at 1121 Gilbert Court in Iowa City. The meeting offers a safe place to talk about memories, grief and the stigma surrounding suicide. For more information, visit the Crisis Center’s Support Groups page or contact Timothy Kelly at 319-351-0140 or timothy.kelly@jccrisiscenter.org.

    For additional support information, please visit our Downloadable Resources page.

Where is hospice provided?

Our staff and volunteers come to the patient’s home, wherever that may be – house, hospital or long-term care facility.

When should hospice be used?

If you are the family member, clergy, friend or medical professional of a terminally ill person, we encourage you to contact Iowa City Hospice. Our staff can offer guidance about how to raise the subject of hospice with someone who may be in need of our care.

The following signs of change in the seriously ill individual may indicate it’s time to call Iowa City Hospice for an assessment.

  • Inability to complete daily tasks such as dressing, bathing and moving around
  • Appetite change and/or weight loss
  • Changes in skin, including color, sores, and swelling of feet or other parts of the body
  • Shortness of breath
  • Decreased talking
  • Increased confusion

Stress and fatigue in caregivers may also be an indication that it is time to reach out to us.

For assistance, please contact us at 800-897-3052 or info@iowacityhospice.org.

Why should hospice be used?

By transferring much of the patient care and medical oversight to Iowa City Hospice staff, the patient and their family can focus on their time together.

  • Receive comfort.
    Experience the comfort and peace that walks through the door with your Iowa City Hospice team.
  • Reduce stress through financial coverage.
    100% of the medications, medical equipment and supplies related to your hospice care will be paid for and delivered to the patient’s home.
  • Improve quality of life and care.
    Expand the patient’s circle of care through connections to medical, financial, legal and social resources.
  • Be prepared and find peace.
    Knowing what to expect brings peace of mind and empowers caregivers with confidence to provide end of life care.

How is hospice paid?

Payment for hospice services is covered 100% by Medicare for eligible Medicare beneficiaries. Patients who have Medicaid insurance are also covered by a hospice benefit. Many private insurance policies also provide hospice benefit coverage. Finally, with generous donations from the community, we are also able to provide services to those who do not have any insurance coverage. No one will be denied care because of an inability to pay.

How can our family access hospice care?

Anyone can make a referral to Iowa City Hospice. Patients and families are encouraged to call Iowa City Hospice directly – whether or not they have a physician referral – to seek advice and information at any time during their illness.

If it appears hospice care would be beneficial, Iowa City Hospice’s staff will work closely with the appropriate people to help facilitate a referral and admission to our program. Meetings to discuss each patient’s unique needs can be arranged at a time and place that is convenient for family.

For assistance, please contact us at 800-897-3052 or info@iowacityhospice.org.

For more information about Iowa City Hospice and the services we provide, please visit our FAQ video gallery.

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