Our focus at Iowa City Hospice is to provide services that offer comfort, peace, and dignity for our patients with incurable illnesses, and for their families. To this end, we have a team of compassionate professionals who make home visits to assist you in the care of your loved one. Do not let concern about finances keep you from this vital support! Payment for hospice services is covered 100% by Medicare and Medicaid, and frequently covered by private insurance. With generous donations from the community, we are also able to provide services to those who do not have insurance coverage. No one will be denied care because of an inability to pay. In hospice, we provide assistance to the patient and to the family members. Families who come to Iowa City Hospice for help receive services customized to their needs. These services can include:
- Home visits several times a week
- Management of pain and other difficult symptoms
- Help with bathing and grooming
- 24-hour assistance and advice
- Emotional and spiritual support
- Patient and family caregiver education
- Coordination of multiple services
- Help for family caregivers
Home visits several times a week
Whether the person you care for 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 physical or occupational therapist. These professionals offer important advice and support to family and friends who are delivering day-to-day care. We even have specially trained volunteers who can stay and visit with the patient so family caregivers can take a much-needed break.Return to top
Management of pain and other difficult symptoms
Our staff at Iowa City Hospice are trained in “palliative care,” a branch of medicine that focuses specifically on easing pain and discomfort. The definition of “pain” is very broad in palliative medicine and includes physical, emotional, and spiritual distress. As a result, our team is holistic in its approach. For instance, sometimes the best remedy is medication, and so we will ask the doctor for a prescription. But sometimes the problem can best be fixed by changing sleeping position, modifying diet, or simply talking through an emotional issue and gaining clarity on a difficult family concern. Some treatments for symptom relief involve surgery or radiation. Others require special equipment such as oxygen for shortness of breath, or a hospital bed or wheelchair to reduce the likelihood of falls or the chance of injuring a caregiving family member. Although Medicare authorizes a $5 copayment, Medicare patients at Iowa City Hospice receive all prescriptions, equipment, and supplies that are needed for pain and symptom relief at no additional charge.Return to top
Help with bathing and grooming
Everyone feels 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. Family members may try to help, but assisting another person in and out of the tub, or into the shower, can be physically demanding. The floors are slippery, surfaces are hard, and bathrooms are typically cramped with very little room for moving around. More injuries occur in the bathroom than in any other room of the house. And the injury can be with the caregiver as much as with the patient! Even giving a sponge bath to a person in bed can be difficult. Family members are not trained in methods for safely moving weights of 100 pounds or more. It is not uncommon for them to end up with a painful back injury as a result of trying to lift or move a loved one.
Our nurse aides, however, are professionals who have learned safety techniques to protect their patients and themselves from injury. Having one of our aides come to your home two or three times a week to help with bathing and grooming relieves your family of worry and risk. Patients receive the benefits of getting clean, while elderly spouses, in particular, are able to conserve their energy.
At Iowa City Hospice, we know there are many things that only family members can provide. By letting our staff help with tasks such as bathing and grooming, you are free to more easily give the love and affection that your loved one needs at this time.Return to top
24-hour assistance and advice
Patients and families of Iowa City Hospice are free to call the office 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We have professionals available to answer your questions. No waiting until the morning, with your loved one 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 treatments being suggested.Return to top
Emotional and spiritual support
Serious illness brings up many difficult questions and feelings. As we face the possibility of dying, we all have fears, worries, and concerns. At Iowa City Hospice, our staff has received special training to help people address these issues. We even have social workers and nondenominational chaplains who can meet with you, the patient, or even with the entire family, to help everyone come to a better understanding of the situation and determine how to meet each others’ needs with grace and love.Return to top
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, the side effects of treatment, the likely progression of the illness. We’re there to help in any way we can. Even in the context of an incurable condition, just knowing what to expect helps many patients and families relax and feel less anxious about the process.Return to top
Coordination of multiple services
Pharmacies, doctors, physical therapists, equipment suppliers … it can be mind boggling to juggle all the different services and providers your loved one may need to stay comfortable. Part of our hospice care involves coordinating these many services so you can concentrate on your loved one’s daily needs and do not need to worry about paperwork, shopping for providers, arranging for physician orders, etc.Return to top
Help for family caregivers
At Iowa City Hospice, family members are part of the caregiving team and part of the unit of care. We know that your loved one would not be as comfortable if it were not for your participation. You make a valuable contribution. But you also are undergoing a very stressful and difficult time.
Our goal is to support you, emotionally and physically, so that your health is not also compromised. We suggest treatments for the patient based not only on what he or she needs, but also on the needs and capabilities of family members. Our social workers and chaplains are available to help you as you 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 you can get out and have some time to yourself (a requirement if you are going to keep up your own strength!).
And for those patients on Medicare, we can often arrange for your loved one to stay a few days in a nursing home so you or an elderly spouse can rest and build up your reserves. And finally, at such time that your loved one passes, we are also available to help with grief support groups and volunteer bereavement assistance.
If you think your family might benefit from the support of our hospice team, please give us a call at 1-800-897-3052, toll-free, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be honored to serve you.Return to top