About Us


For all who are touched by the need of hospice care, our organization is the most experienced hospice in the area. Iowa City Hospice is a not-for-profit, community-based organization that brings an unmatched combination of:

• A personalized approach to patient and family care,
• Quality staff with longevity and experience, and
• A large, dedicated volunteer base

The result is the most appropriate possible scope of hospice services and, ultimately, the respect, comfort, and peace of mind that patients and families need most.

At one of the most emotional, intimate transitions of your life, our compassionate staff and volunteers will be here to walk beside you – respecting your choices, and empowering you to retain control of your care.

Our Mission and Principle of Practice

Iowa City Hospice’s Mission:
is to be the leaders in providing exceptional patient-centered palliative care and grief support to anyone affected by a terminal illness.

Iowa City Hospice’s Principle of Practice:
As a community-oriented, not for profit organization, Iowa City Hospice is dedicated to offering services to everyone regardless of an individual’s ability to pay.

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Our statistics

Iowa City Hospice’s exceptional care is reflected in everything we do. In addition to the thousands of calls, letters and emails we receive from grateful individuals, we regularly survey our families and healthcare professionals to assess our effectiveness.
A few figures from recent surveys…

Iowa City Hospice care teams are experts at pain control – 100% of families report the right amount of medication was provided to patients to relieve their pain.

95% of families rate Iowa City Hospice’s overall care as Excellent or Very Good.
And, Iowa City Hospice’s staff are committed experts in end- of-life care.

92% of Iowa City Hospice staff are certified in hospice and palliative care, compared to a national average of 20%.

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Our history

Still Here, Still Working, Still Benefiting Others
Martha lLubaroff
“Officially,” Iowa City Hospice served its first patient in 1983, which makes 2013 our 30th anniversary. The tireless work of our founders, however, began several years prior to 1983. Motivated by their experiences with loved ones at the end of life, in 1979, founders Martha Lubaroff and Mary Child began to discuss whether the relatively new field of hospice care could be supported in Johnson County.

They recruited a task force of numerous community members. Their charge—to find a way to provide practical, compassionate support to enhance quality of life for people who were at the end of their lives. “Looking back, it’s unbelievable how everything fell into place,” Martha Lubaroff says, though, she laughs, “it didn’t feel that way at the time.”

Martha admits there were many things that worried her and the task force during those early years. “Having enough money to hire staff and serve patients, educating the community, getting the medical profession behind us; at first there was a lot of skepticism.” But, she adds, task force members were willing to roll up their sleeves and jump in. “Where we were able to do something, we put our heads together and we did it.”

Initial funding came from grants and community donations. In 1982, widespread community support allowed the first board of directors to appoint a medical director, Charles E. Driscoll, M.D., who offered his services free of charge. That fall, the first class of volunteers was trained. These I Iowa City Hospice upporters and volunteers, along with their newly hired patient care coordinator, Laurie Neunaber, provided care to their first patient in March of 1983.

Martha is thrilled that Iowa City Hospice continues to provide exceptional hospice care and grief support services and that, over the years, the organization was able to expand to six more counties. She admits to being a little surprised, though, about  Iowa City Hospice’s remarkable growth, and its acceptance in the community. “I’m happy that it’s still here, it’s working, and people are benefiting.”

Although she is honored to share the mantle of “founder” with Mary Child, Martha enthusiastically credits the many people whose commitment made  Iowa City Hospice what it is today. “What we did in the early years—the commitment of the original ‘band’—was so important,” Martha explains. “Our mission never deviated, and we all believed in it so strongly. People came forward to help without being coaxed a lot.”

Martha adds that Maggie Elliott, Iowa City Hospice executive director since 1995, has played a critical role in continuing the task force’s efforts. “Maggie made it happen, with her ability to bring in other communities, other groups. Her vision and ability to involve others has been key,” Martha says.

Thirty-one years after she and Mary first contemplated the idea of a community-based hospice, Martha continues to be involved, sharing her story with others to encourage continued support of Iowa City Hospice, especially of the Iowa City Hospice Endowment Fund.

Martha sees many things for Iowa City Hospice’s future. “I see us continuing to grow, serving more patients and families. And because of the arrival of for-profit hospice providers to our community, we have to continue making it clear why Iowa City Hospice is the best choice,” she says.

“You love it, believe in it, and want it to keep going,” Martha explains. And, she says, “I’d like it to be there for me.”

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Iowa City Hospice is happy to announce Karla Earnest as its new Executive Director.

Karla was previously the Nurse Manager for Mercy Home Health Care. She served in different positions at Mercy Hospital since 2003. Before that, she worked with UI Community Homecare from 1997 to 2003.

Karla has both a Graduate Certificate in Public Health and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing, from the University of Iowa.

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Our Board of Directors

Mary Adamek, Chair,  Clinical Professor, Music Therapy Program, The University of Iowa

Rev. Elizabeth Coulter, Chair-electIowa City Hospice Volunteer

Eli Wynes, Secretary, Wealth Advisor, University of Iowa Community Credit Union

Mike Messier, Treasurer,  The Messier Group

Cindy Penney,  Vice President of Nursing, Mercy Iowa City

Dean Carrington,  Attorney, Phelan, Tucker, Mullen, Walker, Tucker & Gelman, L.L.P.

Tara Clark, Assistant Director, Department of Social Services, The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics

Brad Langguth, Senior Vice President, Hills Bank & Trust Company

Allison Law, Vice President, Senior Housing Companies

Lori Leggins, Vice President, Twinkle Co

Todd Means,  Vice President, Midwest One Bank

Doug Ruppert, Attorney, Meardon, Sueppel & Downer, P.L.C.

Bruce Van Houweling MD, Physician Mercy Iowa City

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