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948 E 11th St
Washington, IA

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Why Choose Hospice?
What Services are Provided?
What Makes Hospice of Washington County Unique?
How Are Hospice Services Paid?
What is the next step?


Modern medicine has always focused on curing an illness or disease. But what if there is no cure? When you or a loved one have a life-limiting illness it can seem like your world has been shattered. You may be experiencing feelings of being alone, scared, and powerless. What do you do? Where do you turn? Hospice of Washington County can help.

Hospice care is compassionate care focused on comfort and quality of life. Hospice care neither hastens nor postpones death but helps patients and families prepare and cope with this natural part of life. We make it possible for patients to continue to live in their own environment, surrounded by the people they know and love, living their lives as comfortably and fully as possible, living every day to the fullest.

Hospice services are provided by a team of professionals and volunteers. Hospice of Washington County tailors our services to the needs of each patient and their family. We care for patients in their own familiar surroundings, whether it’s their own home, a skilled nursing center, an assisted living facility, or an acute care facility.

Why Choose Hospice?

Hospice treats the whole person with dignity, empowering them to decide what is right for them and their loved ones. Hospice treats the patient’s physical, spiritual, social and emotional needs. Hospice affirms life and helps patients by encouraging them to participate in life as fully as possible. The focus of Hospice care concentrates on comfort care, not curative care. It neither hastens nor postpones death, but helps patients and families view this final journey as a natural process of life.

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What Services are Provided?

Hospice care is provided by a core group of professionals. The following lists of professionals are all part of our interdisciplinary team. This team works together to develop and implement the patient’s personal Plan of Care. This plan is fluid and can change as needed based upon the patient’s needs. The interdisciplinary team meets weekly to discuss the status of the patients and to make any changes in the Plan of Care.

Nurses - a nurse typically visits twice a week. One visit will be a full assessment and the second, a check-in visit, to ensure that the patients’ needs are being met. Each patient will have a nurse specifically assigned to them. All of our nurse’s share call on nights and weekends. All pertinent information about each patient is shared among the medical staff, including medication lists for the patient. The Hospice Nurses are available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week for pain and symptom management, changes in condition and other concerns.

Certified Hospice Aides - C.N.A.’s may visit 1- 3 times per week, or more, depending on the patient or caregivers need and living environment. Our aides assist with personal cares (being present while in the shower, to providing a bed bath), they provide companionship, assist with activities; provide caregivers a respite, do light housekeeping, and many other services. Social Worker - the social worker will visit monthly, bi-monthly or weekly, depending on patient need. The social worker will assist the patient and family with emotional, financial and legal concerns, through counseling, resource and referral, advocacy, education and coordination of complimentary therapies.

Medical Social Worker - the medical social worker will visit monthly, bi-monthly or weekly, depending on patient need. The medical social worker will assist the patient and family with emotional, financial and legal concerns, through counseling, resource and referral, advocacy, education and coordination of complimentary therapies.

Spiritual Care Provider - Spiritual care is offered by our interfaith spiritual care provider. Spiritual care is based upon the foundational belief that every person is a spiritual being—created to be in relationship with others, to give and receive love, to have a purpose in life and a desire to experience meaning in our lives. At Hospice of Washington County, we respect every person’s spiritual values and beliefs. Our spiritual care provider supports and assists patient’s and family’s spiritual wellbeing through holistic, compassionate care according to patient and family preferences, desires and personal beliefs.

Volunteers – Hospice of Washington County volunteers are trained to provide many different types of support. They can give primary caregivers a break by providing companionship to the patient. Volunteers also help with simple chores, running errands, fixing a favorite food, or helping the patient to fulfill a special task.

Licensed Music Therapist - music therapy is a homeopathic intervention used to reduce pain and anxiety. The therapist will personalize the session just for the patient, by playing music that they enjoy listening to or that helps them to recall a time in their life that brings them joy and peace.

Licensed Massage Therapist - massage therapy is another homeopathic intervention used to reduce pain and anxiety. The therapist has knowledge of your disease process and they will personalize the treatment to your personal needs and wants. The resulting relaxation and peace from a massage are very much needed.

Bereavement Support - our Bereavement Director is available to our patients and their family to assist with feelings of loss and grief. They provide a variety of sessions to choose from, such as one-on-one session, group family sessions and grief support groups that are open to the public.

Patient’s Primary Physician - a patient’s primary physician most often remains in this position, a primary physician will write all medication orders and approve changes in medication. The nurses and the Medical Director for Hospice of Washington County keep the primary physician informed as to any changes or any additional needs the patient may have. The team works closely with the primary physician to ensure all patient needs are met.

Medical Director - Our Medical Director is a licensed practicing Medical Doctor, who works with the patient’s personal physician or physicians to ensure that all medical issues and needs are being met in the highest possible manner to ensure the patient has the best quality of life at the end-of-life.

Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner - Our Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner is a licensed ARNP. They work with the entire interdisciplinary team to ensure that all of the patient’s medical needs and issues are being taken care of to the highest standards.

Pharmacist - Our Pharmacist is part of our interdisciplinary team. They are available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week for patient medication needs and changes.

Medical equipment and supplies - HWC will provide any medical equipment and supplies a patient may need: electric bed, bedside table, oxygen, commode, shower chair, incontinence supplies, and nutritional supplements.

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What Makes Hospice of Washington County Unique?

Our team members live in the communities we serve. We believe in delivering the highest quality of service to our patients and their families. Our team members deliver consistent, dependable, timely and quality care. We are available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week ensuring that our patient’s needs are fully met.

Hospice of Washington County goes above and beyond when it comes to our patient care. We commonly exceed the required clinical staff visits that Medicare and Medicaid dictate all hospice service providers follow. We are a not-for-profit hospice that was established in 1988 to provide end-of-life care to our community members facing a terminal diagnosis and a life expectancy of six months or less depending on the disease process. No patient or family will ever receive a bill from Hospice of Washington County. We will accept all hospice appropriate patients regardless of their ability to pay for end-of-life care.

We are proud to be one of the smallest stand-alone hospice providers in Iowa and the entire United States. Because of our name people often assume we are a county funded organization. We are not. We are proud to serve seven counties with the city of Washington being the hub of our service area. For thirty years and beyond we have proudly served the counties of Henry, Jefferson, Johnson, Keokuk, Louisa, Muscatine and Washington.

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How Are Hospice Services Paid?

Hospice care is paid for by the Medicare Hospice Benefit, Medicaid, and many private insurances.

Hospice of Washington County is dedicated to serving people facing a terminal illness. We use community donations, memorial gifts, and hold several fundraisers throughout the year to provide care for those without insurance or those that are under-insured. Hospice of Washington County will never send a bill to a patient or a family for hospice services.

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What is the next step?

It is never too soon to contact Hospice of Washington County. We encourage potential patients, concerned family members, friends, clergy and medical professionals to call us with any questions or concerns they may have.

End-of-life care is not easy to discuss, but it is necessary. Conversations about options for care should be done early. The professional team members of Hospice of Washington County are here to assist you. We have many informational materials to assist in getting this conversation started. Just call or stop by the office. We will be happy to assist you.

Anyone can refer a patient to hospice, a concerned friend or family member, a clergy member, a medical professional or even the patient themselves. The next step in the process is to see if the referred patient is hospice appropriate. This is done by the hospice Medical Director and the patient’s personal physician. They both must certify that the patient has a life-limiting illness and with normal disease progress will likely live six months or less. The patient must stop all curative treatments for the terminal disease.

Patients are reviewed regularly. Physicians can elect to discharge a hospice patient if they improve and are no longer hospice appropriate. Patients can cancel hospice services at any time. If a patient lives longer than the six month period they are not automatically removed from services. If they are deemed hospice appropriate by a physician they can stay on hospice services.

The admission of a patient on to hospice services can be a quick process or it can be done at a slower pace depending on the needs of the patient. A typical admission goes as follows – A member of the Clinical Administrative staff will set up an appointment with the patient and their caregivers. They will fill out the necessary background and paperwork on the patient. They will gather all the pertinent information to establish a patient plan of care. After all the admission paperwork is complete the patient will be visited by one of the hospice nurse to do a clinical evaluation. After being admitted to hospice services the patient will be cared for and made as comfortable as possible. Pain & symptom management are a priority. Every patient and their caregivers have unique needs; hospice care is customized for each family. The hospice team will work together to provide the highest quality of care for the patient. Hospice is not about losing hope; rather it is hope for the best possible quality of life.

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