November 1st, 2006

The community is invited to the groundbreaking for Great River Medical Center’s hospice house. It is scheduled at 4 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13. The 17,000-square-foot facility will be located on the southwest side of the lake on the hospital’s campus in West Burlington, Iowa. Parking for the groundbreaking will be available along Washington Road on the west side of the hospital campus or in the lot off West Agency Road near Kid Zone Childcare Center. Transportation to the site will be available.

The medical center announced the hospice house project in August; it is scheduled to open next summer. A hospice house is a medical facility that feels and functions like a home. Medical technology and services are available, but hidden to preserve the homelike feel of the facility. Patients who are admitted to Great River Hospice have terminal illnesses and six months or less to live as determined by their physicians. Diagnoses include cancer, AIDS, end-stage heart, lung or renal disease, Alzheimer’s disease and other life-limiting diseases.

The hospice house will provide three levels of care:

• Inpatient acute care—For pain and symptom management that can’t be provided in another setting. This care is covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance plans.
• Respite care—Patients may stay for up to five days at a time so at-home caregivers can have a break. This care also is covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance plans.
• Residential care—For patients who want to spend the remainder of their lives in the hospice house. This care is not covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance plans, but financial assistance will be available for those who qualify.

The hospice house will have a brick and stone exterior. Inside, natural colors will be accented by woodwork and a large stone fireplace near the entrance. Each of the six large patient and family suites will have a fireplace, entertainment center, sofa-sleeper, laptop hookup and private deck.

Common areas for all families using the house will include a kitchen, dining room, living room, indoor play area for young children, quiet room, bathroom and laundry room.

On the lower level, there will be a game room for adolescents, conference room for hospice team meeting and offices for Great River Home Health Care and Hospice.

Outside, there will be a memorial garden and walkway paved with bricks purchased by donors. The fund-raising project will be announced this winter.