Specialty Programs

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Patient & Family Support Volunteers

Iowa City Hospice Patient and Family Support volunteers provide companionship and support to terminally ill patients and their loved ones, including patients with cancer, dementia and heart disease.  The assistance and support provided by Iowa City Hospice volunteers is as varied as the families and communities we serve.

Patient & Family Support volunteers receive extensive training to prepare them for the challenges and rewards of working with people at the end of life.  In addition, they are offered continuing education opportunities to increase their knowledge and understanding of the specific needs of patients and families:

  • military veterans at end of life,
  • the value of pets during a serious illness,
  • creative ways of capturing the life stories of patients
  • the physical, emotional and spiritual signs of approaching death

See below for details about our Specialty Programs with Patient & Family Support Volunteers.

Volunteers Supporting Veterans

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25 – 50% of Americans dying today are military veterans. The influence of military culture and the effects of combat can profoundly impact their end-of-life experience.

Iowa City Hospice has a deep respect and gratitude for the service and sacrifice of our nation’s veterans and takes very seriously the importance of providing “veteran-centric” care at end of life. Volunteers take additional training in order to provide empathic, non-judgmental support to veterans and their families.  We call this special group, “Volunteers Supporting Veterans”.

In addition, Iowa City Hospice is a participant in the national initiative “We Honor Veterans”.  Led by the Veterans Affairs Administration and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, Iowa City Hospice has demonstrated its commitment and knowledge of veteran’s issues by working our way up through 4 levels of skill.

Iowa City Hospice is a leader in the community regarding veteran’s needs at end of life, and has provided community education to area hospitals, Veterans Service Organizations and community organizations.

To learn more about how you can become an Iowa City Hospice Volunteer, click here.

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Pet Peace of Mind Volunteers

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Pet Peace of Mind is designed to help provide whatever the services are necessary to keep patient and pet together throughout the end-of-life journey. Just as in our care for people, we empower patients to make their own healthcare decisions for their pets and then help them to carry out those decisions.

How can Pet Peace of Mind Volunteers assist with Iowa City Hospice patients?

  • Purchase/delivery of pet food/treats/cat litter
  • Pet check-in for long days away from home
  • Dog walking
  • Socialization/companionship visits for cats
  • Waste management/litter box maintenance
  • Assistance with facilitating pet visits with owner in a care facility.
  • Assistance with finding a “forever home” if family is not able to keep pet after patient’s death.

To learn more about how you can become an Iowa City Hospice Volunteer, click here.

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Pet Therapy Volunteers

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Pet therapy can benefit hospice patients in multiple ways.  Relaxation, decreased anxiety, and even lowered blood pressure have been attributed to the presence of pets. Therapy pets and their handlers visit patients and families in their homes, in long-term care facilities and in hospitals.

To learn more about how you can become an Iowa City Hospice Volunteer, click here.

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Legacy Project Volunteers

“Like an antique watch or pair of eyeglasses passed down through the generations, a recorded account of a life story becomes a treasured family heirloom, stopping time for a moment of reflection and celebration every time it is read”         ~J. Lincecum                                                                           

Legacy volunteers capture our patient’s “endangered” stories, images and wisdom in a variety of forms.  Oral interviews can be recorded and transcribed, or notes expanded into a captivating narrative.  Professional photographic portraits create an “occasion” to capture the patient and their relationships.  Memory books can include memorabilia, photo’s, important family documents to be bound in a book or scanned onto a CD.  The possibilities are only limited by the imagination.
To learn more about how you can become an Iowa City Hospice Volunteer, click here.

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11th Hour Volunteers

When it is anticipated that a patient is within 24-48 hours of death, Iowa City Hospice staff or families may request volunteer support 24 hours a day to ensure that the patient does not die alone or to provide support to the family. 11th Hour volunteers are those willing to spend time with a patient who is actively dying. Volunteers may hold the patient’s hand, read aloud to the patient, alert staff if the patient appears to be in pain, or be a listening ear for the family.

To learn more about how you can become an Iowa City Hospice Volunteer, click here.

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Honoring Your Wishes

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Advanced Care Planning

The mission of Honoring Your Wishes is to promote and sustain a community-wide advance care planning process where individuals’ health care preferences are discussed, documented, and honored by families, friends, and the health care community.

History
Iowa City Hospice recognized a need for an improved advance care planning process in the community, and provided initial funding and support to explore this possibility. In September of 2010, Iowa City Hospice invited community leaders to come together and learn about Respecting Choices, an evidence-based advance care planning system in La Crosse, WI. At that gathering, twenty-two community leaders volunteered to serve as a steering committee. The group first met in December 2010, and the initiative was launched in Johnson County.

What Is Advance Care Planning?
Advance care planning is a process for people to make informed decisions about healthcare preferences based upon their values and beliefs. It encourages reflection and discussion with people’s healthcare providers and their circle of support to determine healthcare goals and interventions. As people age and their life circumstances and health conditions change, it is important to regularly review and communicate healthcare preferences to ensure that healthcare wishes are honored.

We encourage all adults with decision making capacity to meet with a certified Advance Care Planning facilitator. To schedule an appointment click here.

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